Weight and mood drive Euro functional food development
are high in antioxidants, fibre and whole grains are leading
functional foods development, according to a UK-based market
"The most successful functional foods are primarily focused on addressing major health issues like high cholesterol and poor immune, gut and bone health and these represent dominant sectors in the global market estimated at least US$19.4bn," said Leatherhead Food International's head of nutrition, Fiona Angus. But new areas were emerging, none more so than weight management as large sections of global populations attempt to deal with obesity. Weight management The weight management market was being backed by major launches with Tesco (Appetitie Suppressing) and Unilever (Hungershots) both launching satiety products in the UK in the past month, Leatherhead Food International's head of nutrition, Fiona Angus, told NutraIngredients.com. "The Unilever product is high in protein and via inulin has something like 5g of fibre in a one-shot drink which is very high," she said. "The Tesco product is high in protein and contains green tea which is gaining a lot of attention in the weight management area." A smoothie had been launched called Naturally Georgeous that employs Lipid Nutrition's Pinnothin ingredient that is the first satiety-marketed product of its kind in the UK. In 2007 Unilever Switzerland launched a catechin-rich, iced tea called Linea marketed on its ability to aid weight management and favourable fat distribution. Angus said DSM's Fabuless weight management ingredient was also showing up in new products throughout Europe. Mood "The field of nutrition and cognitive function is one to watch as our scientific understanding of this area increases," Angus said. "As the population ages, there is huge opportunity for products that might help prevent cognitive decline currently affecting so many of our older population." Herbs like ginkgo biloba and ginseng were showing increasing benefit in the cognitive area, with a lot of work being carried out at the University of Northumberland. Green tea was also being researched in this area, Angus said. She said the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, was driving many product innovations, especially in infant nutrition and products being marketed at those suffering cognitive decline such as Alzheimer's disease. Whole grains Angus said whole grains had managed to move from the breakfast sector into "wider orbit" with introductions in baked goods as well as savoury snacks like UK-based Hula Hoops, a snack aimed at children. Breakfast cereals were reinventing themselves with a wholegrain message, she said. "Wholegrain is performing well in the UK and driving NPD. There was a high level of interest in oat and barley beta glucans for cholesterol reduction and a number of breakfast cereal manufacturers have recently introduced new oat based variants of their cereal , for example Optivita from Kelloggs and Oatibix from Weetabix, both launched in the UK." There is also renewed interest in the area of antioxidants with chocolate companies focusing on the antioxidant levels in chocolate, for example, Hershey's Natural Flavanol Antioxidant Milk Chocolate in the USA and juice companies introducing "super" juices boasting high levels of antioxidants.