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Pharma-food gap will be bridged, but taste is always key: Nestlé

By Nathan GRAY, 12-Jun-2012

Related topics: Research

The gap between pharmaceutical ‘treatments’ for disease and the role that foods and supplements can play in health will grow ever smaller, but as ever, taste is the key to success.

Speaking with NutraIngredients at the inauguration of the company’s new Clinical Development Unit last week, Thomas Beck, head of the Nestlé research centre said he envisages a closing of the gap between food and pharma.

“Its’ always a case of dosing, and the related safety,” said Beck. “Normally in food we are dealing with active doses that are very well in the safe range.”

However as manufacturers look to put higher doses of functional ingredients into foods, Beck believes this could lead to a ‘grey area’ somewhere between the two traditionally separate areas.

“One area I would like to emerge more strongly is really a more preventative direction for food.”

The research chief said he thinks it is interesting that in a Western society we have a very corrective medical approach, whilst in Asia food has traditionally already had the role of ensuring the prevention of disease.

"I think a lot of what we see today – a lot of the problems – actually start early in life and then are carried through,” said Beck. "If you intervene early enough, I believe we will see in the future that the right foods can really lead to a positive aspect in growing and ageing more healthily.”