Unlocking the Power of Functional Foods: A Comprehensive Guide to Europe’s Growing Trend

2023-09-27 13:44:00

Functional foods are expected to be increasingly present on supermarket shelves in Europe. The what? But if you know some: small vials of yogurt good for digestion, milk enriched with vitamins and calcium or anti-cholesterol margarine…

These are products which in addition to satisfying and/or having health benefits; will strengthen the body beyond basic nutrition.

Popular with consumers looking for a well-being boost, they are on the rise around the world, especially in the United States. In Europe, interest is growing more and more according to the professionals gathered at the Vitafoods Europe show, dedicated to nutraceuticals and food ingredients.

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For now, it is breakfast foods like dairy products with beneficial effects on digestion that are still the market leaders. But the range is expanding.

This year, Nespresso released its very first range of functional coffees, COFFEE +. In the capsules of Melozio Go and Stormio Go, two best-sellers, fans will be offered 20% additional caffeine. The third range, Ginseng Delight presents the first functional coffee enhanced with a botanical ingredient: ginseng. Taste, boost…

Michael Sels, head of the dietetics department at UZ Antwerpen, sees it as a good plan for athletes and those whose bodies have become accustomed to caffeine and who need extra stimulation and concentration in special moments. “It’s not about replacing all the coffee you drink with this type of extra-caffeinated coffee! In the context of normal consumption, it must be seen as a positive food supplement with an immediate effect,” he explains. And effective for some “Studies on Benecol against cholesterol are positive. Colombus eggs are actually enriched in omega-3 thanks to a diet in this sense given to the chickens”. For others, he remarks ironically, it is more the marketing that is effective! This type of product also makes it more expensive to purchase. Regardless, at the Vitafoods show, we predict a bright future for cereals that help digestion. The same goes for low-fat ice creams with added fiber.

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Finally, also note that the European Food Safety Authority watches over (natural) grain: it rejects more than 80% of requests for validation of beneficial effects for the body on labels.

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