The Australian government is allocating A$5.5 million (€3.17m) in funding for the commercial development of functional foods.
The money will go to a new centre for functional foods, backed by the CSIRO division of Health Sciences and Nutrition and Food Science Australia, to be based at the university of Wollongong.
Like other developed nations, Australia is facing growing consumer demand for food which could prevent disease, especially age-related disease. This demand "is one of the biggest issues facing the food industry worldwide", according to managing director of the National Food Industry Strategy (NFIS), Richard Brooks.
"Not only do we need to know whether such food can be developed, but it has to taste good, be attractive to consumers and the evidence-base must be in place to support the claims that functional food delivers added health benefits," he added.
The funding will be spread over four years from the Australian government via the NFIS. The centre for functional foods is one of two 'food centres of excellence' to be announced by the NFIS - the other being in food safety based at the University of Tasmania.
"The concept behind the two food centres of excellence is for Australian food science and the industry to consolidate its efforts and focus to establish Australia as an international centre of expertise and excellence for food industry innovation and to support the Australian food industry to be world-class," said Brooks.
The Centre for Functional Foods will be led by associate professor Linda Tapsell of the University of Wollongong.
The National Food Industry Strategy (NFIS) is a Commonwealth-funded company which drives the national food strategy, a five-year blueprint for growth in the Australian food industry.