The project, called HENUFOOD, has a €23.6m budget, half of which has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, with the rest coming from industry and academic partners.
The project is investigating numerous endpoints for nutrients ranging from bacteria to antioxidant olive oil extracts.
“The ultimate goal of the project is a technological breakthrough in the fields of the food industry from the perspective of health,” said Dr Javier Morán, coordinator of the scientific committee of HENUFOOD.
Metabolic syndrome biomarkers
One of the companies involved is Probeltebio, from Murcia in southern Spain, which has linked with the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, and the Catalan Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases (ICCC), to research biomarkers linked with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular protection.
The company’s commercial director and sales manager, Carlos Costa Cano, said two large studies were underway using the company’s olive oil and pomegranate extracts.
The company’s managing director, Sergio Streitenberger, added: “Working in the consortium HENUFOOD means for us to be present in a groundbreaking project in the agro-food sector in Spain. »
The six other food companies in the project are Gallina Blanca Star, BioCentury SLU, Carinsa, Central Lechera Asturiana and GO Fruselva. 2BBlackBio is a biotech firm while Ibermática is from the IT sector.
The project is not the first of its kind running in functional food curious Spain.
Another project called SENIFOOD is set for completion at the end of next year and is investigatingmetabolic syndrome, bone, muscle, gastrointestinal and visual health, as well as cognitive function and neurodegenerative disorders.
It kicked into life last year after the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation committed to a 50 per cent investment in the €26m project with the other half coming from industry players like the four Spanish ingredients suppliers and seven food companies involved.
Spain has one of the most innovative functional foods market in Europe. It is estimated one quarter of Spanish retail foods are functional and the market has shown 15% annual growth in recent years.