Irish establish functional foods initiative

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Four of Ireland’s biggest healthy ingredients companies have joined with academics to form Food for Health Ireland (FHI), a group that will bring together partners up and down the value chain to develop and market ingredients and functional foods.

Given Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia and Kerry are the commercial founding members, there is a strong focus on dairy protein ingredient based projects to begin with, with areas such as immunity, metabolic health, colorectal cancer, lipids and carbohydrates and infant health being looked at closely.

Other founding members include University College Cork, University College Dublin, Teagasc's Moorepark Food Research Centre and the University of Limerick.

The group held its inaugural meeting over two days last week in Cork and FHI chief executive officer, Jens Bleiel, said it had been a good start to “get everyone together” ​and enable those from different sectors to better understand how they can work together and how FHI can allow that to happen.

About 70 people attended the inaugural meeting

Ireland and beyond

“The project is Irish and it has an Irish focus but you have to look outside Ireland and we want this network to interact with other companies and groups and networks,” ​Bleiel told

“This kind of project is unique in terms of the types of people we are bringing together under one structure and it should lead to some very interesting ingredient developments if we can get the right commercial blend. The scientific and technical excellence that exists in Ireland is outstanding.”

He said the project, based in Cork and supported by Enterprise Ireland, is open to new members including Irish start-ups that may have ingredient innovations.

All developments would be held up against the European Union nutrition and health claims regulation and be informed by extensive consumer research over an array of health areas.

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