Global functional food sales to $195 billion by 2012

by Staff
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CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Scientia Advisors is forecasting robust growth in the functional foods market worldwide. Specifically, Scientia is anticipating an annual compound growth rate of 7% through 2012 averaged across all segments of the industry.

Global sales of functional foods will rise to $195 billion by 2012, up 52% from 2006 sales of $128 billion.

Functional foods are defined as those foods fortified with naturally occurring ingredients that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Innovation is leading the growth in the market.

"Both large and small companies are developing efficacious new ingredients," said Bob Jones, principal consultant at Scientia who led the study. "Currently, there are clinical trials underway to test the role of omega-3 fatty acids in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. There is also work supporting the role of probiotics in enhancing immune systems."

Mr. Jones said it is important companies are making products that taste good, are affordable and may be found in the supermarket.

Other factors contributing to the growth of such products include increasing scientific evidence of functional foods’ effectiveness, increased media publicity encouraging consumers to adopt such products, an aging populating with growing chronic health needs and food companies’ ability to work in a regulatory environment that increasingly requires substantiation of claims being made.

The U.S. accounts for nearly 40% of the global market for functional foods and beverages. Even so, not all products are equally as successful as yogurt with probiotics has been quite successful but margarines with a cholesterol-lowering sterol have mostly failed in the United States.

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