Feeling the function

by Keith Nunes
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LONDON — Functional products that provide a benefit consumers may feel will be the best positioned to succeed during the current economic downturn, according to "Ten key trends in food, nutrition & health 2009" by Julian Mellentin, the director of New Nutrition Business.

"In tough times the single most important factor consumers will take into account in choosing a functional food or drink will be whether it delivers a benefit they can feel," Mr. Mellentin said. "When people can feel the benefit that is being offered to them, they can see that they are getting value for money."

Two functional products Mr. Mellentin cites as having an advantage include energy drinks and products with a digestive health benefit.

"Products that lack an easy-to-feel effect could be in trouble," Mr. Mellentin said. "In Australia, sales of omega-3 milks have fallen — in one case by 33% this year. Omega-3 is an essential nutrient, but it doesn’t give a benefit that you can feel."

The 10 trends for 2009 identified in the article are:

1. Digestive health

2. Feel the benefit

3. Weight management

4. Energy

5. Naturally healthy/Free-from

6. Fruit

7. Kids nutrition

8. Healthy snacks

9. Ultra-loyal consumers

10. Packaging innovation.

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