A new report from Leatherhead Food Research, which delivers integrated scientific expertise and international regulatory advice to the global food, drink and related industries, has revealed that the global market for food and drinks offering functional health benefits continues to increase in size.
According to a new report by Leatherhead in 2013, the global market for functional foods was worth an estimated $43.27; this represents an increase in value terms of 26.7% compared with 2009.
Despite this, the growth rates of the market remain well below the levels observed in the early years of the millennium. The market suffered during the global economic downturn, owing to consumers switching to cheaper groceries, while changes in the regulatory situation are also thought to have hindered growth. In the EU, for example, more pressure is being placed on manufacturers of functional foods to provide robust scientific evidence backing up the health claims made by their products.
Analyzed by health outcome, the energy and mood-enhancing sector is the market’s largest, worth an estimated $16.5 billion in 2013 for the countries under review. This equates to 27.1% of the total market, and reflects the widespread popularity of energy drinks in particular in most parts of the world. Other significant sectors by health outcome include digestive health and heart health foods, worth $16 billion and $13.75 billion, respectively, in 2013. At the other end of the scale, sales of products offering immune support were valued at less than $1 billion during the last year.
Jonathan Thomas, Principal Market Analyst, commented, “The functional foods market has experienced fairly strong growth in certain parts of the world. For instance, more US consumers appear to be turning towards functional food and drinks in order to address perceived nutritional shortfalls, away from dietary supplements. However, future growth is likely to be dependent upon the global economic situation.”