Functional food and beverage market to $31 billion

by Staff
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NEW YORK — The market for functional foods and beverages gained 6% in 2008 to reach almost $31 billion, according to "Functional Foods and Beverages in the U.S., 4th Edition," a new report from market researcher Packaged Facts.

Despite the market gain, this was still a slowdown from an 8% growth rate in 2007. In 2007, the market was $29 billion.

"Consumers are reevaluating their health, nutrition and lifestyle choices adopted years ago," said Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts. "This new, proactive approach is fundamentally different from the reactive tendencies of consumers in the past who only treated health problems after they arose."

Yogurt, energy drinks, nutritional snacks and trail mixes, milk substitutes and soymilk, and refrigerated blended fruit drinks were among some of the functional products that did well during the five-year period from 2003 to 2008. Yogurt was the top functional product with sales of $3.3 billion for the year ended Oct. 5, 2008, according to Information Resources, Inc. This was up 11% from the same period of the previous year.

"Though the market has not proven to be recession proof, it has advantages that could prevent it from being as vulnerable as most other markets," Packaged Facts said. "Namely, in the short term functional products may save consumers money since these foods and beverages carry nutrients that shoppers would otherwise seek in expensive nutritional supplements. While in the long run, functional products save consumers money on medical expenses by helping to prevent illness and chronic conditions."

Packaged Facts expects total U.S. retail sales of functional foods and beverages will continue to grow at a steady pace through 2013 and reach about $43 billion.

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