Advances in scientific research into health, diet, and lifestyle have led to the development of functional foods. Functional foods have proved to be one of the most dynamic segments of the food industry as a whole. This case study examines the development of this niche market, its growth, the main players, and looks at what the future may hold.

Features and benefits

  • This case study details the establishment and growth of the functional foods market.
  • This case study looks at two of the major competitors within the market.
  • This case study looks at what the future may hold for functional foods.

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The idea of developing food for functionality first began to emerge in Japan in the 1980s. An increase in the elderly population led to a rise in diseases associated with aging. The government began to make a concerted effort to improve the health of the elderly population in Japan, with the hope of curtailing rising healthcare costs.

Functional food has developed into one of the most dynamic segments of the food industry as a whole, driving growth within the industry. Changing consumer attitudes and a growing interest in the role of food in maintaining and improving health has been a key growth driver.

The increase in consumers looking to food products to maintain and improve their health has led to many companies responding to this trend and a range of new foods being added to the functional foods marketplace. These foods have been designed and marketed to address particular health concerns, and generally chronic diseases associated with aging.

Your key questions answered

  • What factors led to the development of the functional foods market?
  • How has the functional foods market grown?
  • What functional components have been identified?
  • Who are the main players in the market?
  • What does the future hold for functional foods?

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Table of Contents


Scientific Focus on Food Has Shifted From Nutrition to Function
Diet has been linked to health and disease
Gastro Intestinal Disorders
Cardiovascular Disease
Functional foods are a relatively new concept
Functional foods were first developed in Japan
A number functional food components have been identified

Functional Foods Market Has Grown Rapidly
Functional spreads segment is driving market growth
Functional beverages have also seen significant growth
Changes in consumer attitudes have contributed to growth

Numerous Functional Food Products Have Entered The Marketplace
Danone is one of the biggest functional food companies globally
Benecol differentiates itself by being the only brand to contain plant stanols

The Future of Functional Foods
Consumer cynicism needs to be overcome
Taste remains the number one concern
Opportunities exist in emerging markets
Functional food opportunities exist in widespread chronic diseases

Functional foods could evolve into medical foods

Further Reading
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List of Tables

Table: Common functional food components, sources, and potential health benefits
Table: Functional spreads market value 2000 and 2013e ($m) and growth
Table: Regular spreads market value 2000 and 2013e ($m) and growth
Table: Functional spreads percentage of overall spreadable fats market in 2000 and 2013
Table: Functional beverages market value 2000 and 2013e ($m) and growth
Table: Functional beverages percentage of overall soft drinks market in 2000 and 2013

List of Figures

Figure: Danone functional food brands
Figure: Benecol Logo
Figure: Factors impacting consumers decisions to buy food and beverages

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