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Gulfood Green 2024

12 Jan 2024

Exploring the Growing Trend of Functional Foods in the Food and Beverage Industry

Exploring the Growing Trend of Functional Foods in the Food and Beverage Industry

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards functional foods in the food and beverage industry. These foods are those that offer additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. They are designed to promote health and prevent disease, and are increasingly popular among consumers who are looking for healthier options.

Functional foods can take many forms, from fortified beverages to probiotic yogurts to snack bars with added vitamins and minerals. They may also contain bioactive compounds, such as antioxidants or phytochemicals, that have health benefits. Examples of these foods include green tea, omega-3 fortified eggs, and plant sterol-enriched margarine.

One of the driving factors behind the growth of functional foods is the increasing interest in health and wellness among consumers. Many people are becoming more aware of the link between diet and health, and are looking for foods that can help them achieve their health goals. This has led to a rise in demand for functional foods that can offer specific health benefits.

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global functional foods market is expected to reach $275.77 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7.9% from 2018 to 2025.

Another factor contributing to the growth of functional foods is the aging population. As people age, they are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Functional foods can help prevent or manage these conditions and are increasingly popular among older adults.

The functional food market is also being driven by technological advancements. As the food industry becomes more sophisticated, it is becoming easier to incorporate functional ingredients into foods. For example, encapsulation technologies can be used to protect sensitive ingredients such as probiotics or omega-3s, allowing them to be added to a wider range of foods.

Innovation in this segment is also being driven by new-age companies using patented ingredients and technologies to develop healthier, more sustainable, and personalized functional foods. Some of the latest innovations that could revolutionize the industry are -

  • Personalized Nutrition: With the use of data and technology, companies are creating personalized functional foods that address specific health concerns and preferences. For example, DayTwo, an Israeli startup, offers personalized nutrition recommendations based on an individual's gut microbiome. The company analyzes the microbiome using DNA sequencing technology to provide personalized dietary recommendations for better gut health.
  • Plant-Based Proteins: Plant-based proteins are becoming increasingly popular in the functional foods industry due to their health and sustainability benefits. According to a recent report by Zion Market Research, the global plant-based protein market is expected to reach $18.5 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2019 to 2025. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are leading the way with their plant-based meat alternatives, while others are developing plant-based protein powders, bars, and snacks.
  • Food Waste Reduction: With an increasing focus on sustainability, companies are developing functional foods that use food waste as ingredients. For example, ReGrained, a San Francisco-based startup, creates nutritious snacks using spent grain from the beer brewing process. The company has diverted over 1 million pounds of grain from landfills to date.

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