Functional food trends in 2011 with Kantha Shelke

Major multinational brands are seriously exploring medicinal foods to “prevent or correct acute chronic diseases.” The convergence of food and pharma for personalized health and nutrition takes advantage of nutraceuticals and is focused on keeping at bay issues such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. Expect to see more pharmaceutical players in the functional ingredients sector. 

But don't expect to see flashy labels and health claims – regulators have clearly established their stance in this matter. There will be little to no tolerance of flamboyant marketing.

A substantive shift appears to be underway in new product development (NPD) and innovation. Branded products seem to be shying away from innovation and NPD and toward regulatory compliance, quality and safety. On the private label front, the bad economy and regulatory uncertainties have encouraged, on the other hand, some honest-to-goodness innovation rather than just knock-offs.

Expect to see new types of products  emerge – not ones that predominantly tout a roster of beneficial ingredients, but ones that will subtly whisper they do not contain (perceived) harmful ingredients.

And there will be stars! Stevia will steal market share – not from sucralose or aspartame, but from sugar. It will also bring Lo Han Guo along. Probiotics will show a strong steady growth and so will fish oil. Sophisticated delivery mechanisms will allow for fortification and longer shelf life. And there will be a lot more fruits and vegetables in practically every category.

My daily supps: I never go a day without almonds and yogurt!

Kantha Shelke is a partner at Corvus Blue consultancy.

Back to Industry thought leaders peer into 2011 trends

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