Functional Foods in 2012

As we near the end of 2011, a sneak peek into the next year becomes very tempting. Sales, marketing and cost budgets have flown across the pond a number of times and now, it is only matter of execution. Given the economic backdrop, it is expected that the volatility experienced will be comparable to that of 2008/2009.


With the onset of another recession, consumers in Europe are less likely to experiment with functional foods. Buying into highly priced healthy or functional foods will not be high on the shopping list for European consumers. For Asia though, the outlook is very different. If we look at 2011, In terms of new products, Asia dominates with 42% of the launches for functional foods as reported by Mintel, and there is no reason to suggest a different performance next year.
In 2012, the main focus of product launches will still be on mainstream claims such as digestive- and bone health, cardiovascular and immune health - next to the new emerging areas like relaxation, beauty and skin care.
In terms of regulations, functional claims will come under more scrutiny as the European Food Safety Authority re-evaluates the claims for Article 13 (maintenance of a bodily function) and Article 14 (improvement of a bodily function). As a result, many processors may steer safely towards softer claims.
What is clear is that sustainability is here to stay. Food manufacturers will actively be looking at renewable, friendly ingredients and packaging, free from oil and chemicals, that will be trusted by the mass audience.
On the raw material side, we can expect to see some easing as sugar prices come down. For now, many formulators are looking at high intensity sweeteners in terms of mitigating cost and calorie content. These products are expected to hit the shelves next year.
By Wouter Moormann,
Market Unit Manager Food
Purac Asia Pacific




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