Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Functional Foods: Development and Marketing

11.02.2002


These days our supermarket shelves are filled with more and more so-called “functional foods” foods with special health-promoting properties. These products often represent a “high-tech” product line, in the twilight zone between food and medicine. Agricultural researcher Cecilia Mark-Herbert from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, has now studied the market for these products. Her doctoral dissertation shows that developing these foods requires not only new products, but also new know-how, new processes, new companies, new ways of marketing products, and a new management perspective.



During the 1990s “functional foods” became a more and more common term referring to food products that are associated with health. Synonymous terms, such as “value-added foods”, “designer foods,” and “nutraceuticals” all express a value above and beyond being a source of nourishment, energy, and social community. Alongside nature’s own functional foods, like broccoli, citrus fruits, and garlic, there are products created by a process of research and development. Cecilia Mark-Herbert’s doctoral thesis at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences investigates how such products were developed and marketed in four cases: ProViva, Magiform, eggs with special properties, and BRA-milk.

The foodstuffs industry is generally seen as a mature market, characterized by efficiency- and volume-thinking. Products are seen as “low-tech” basic goods, and developing new products usually consists of modifying existing products. Within the EU, market competition has stiffened. One way to enhance a company’s positions is to produce foods that have value-added features. The patented “high-tech” products covered by the study provide companies with added value in the form of higher product pricing, income-generating licensing agreements, and enhanced company image.


The expression “value-added food” refers primarily to its benefits for the consumer. Preventive consumption can lead to the mitigation or postponement of possible disease, and food can also be a factor in treatment. In this case it is a matter of the widespread diseases tied to today’s affluent society that are affecting growing numbers of individuals in the Western world, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. The added value is also clearly noticeable from the perspective of society. Preventive health and medical care in the form of consumption of healthful products can represent a price-worthy alternative to rising health-care costs.

To make it possible to create such added value, certain institutional preconditions must allow the development and sale of foods with health effects. Sweden is seen as a pioneer, alongside Japan, in this respect. Sweden boasts excellent cooperation between food companies, research organizations, and authorities, and there is an adequate regulatory system for marketing.

Companies developing new products in the field of function foods need a new way to manage the process of innovation, from the development of new knowledge to the marketing of something radically new. It is especially crucial for companies to identify critical (new) fields of knowledge and partners for collaboration, to create strategic alliances, gain access to venture capital, and to market the products’ beneficial health effects, according to the SLU researcher.

The case studies indicate that several factors determined whether investments in radically new products paid off. Special weight was attached to technological development (generation of knowledge), clinical studies of medicinal effects, and strong brand names.

The market for functional foods is expected to continue to grow. Consumers are demanding healthful products that provide a quick meal or snack. In the cases studied, scientists have collaborated with companies. In the future it is plausible that drug companies will enter the “do-it-yourself-care” market, which is where functional foods are slotted, and then would become prospective collaborative partners for food companies with resources for production and marketing.

The borderlines between medicine and food is becoming more and more diffuse. Hippocrates himself proposed that we could “make our food our medicine and our medicine our food.”

Carin Wrange | alphagalileo
Further information:
http://www.slu.se

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>