Natural Foods Merchandiser
Foods for diabetes

Foods for diabetes

The diabetic food and ingredient market is growing in the U.S., as more research emerges on well-known and up-and-coming food ingredients.

 

The functional-foods market has always been a melting pot of innovation for foods that have minimal impact on blood glucose. One of the most popular marketing concepts for diabetic-type foods is the glycemic index, which represents how different foods influence blood-glucose levels—the higher the GI, the higher the rise in blood glucose.

 

According to a European Food Safety Authority opinion released in February, low-GI carbohydrates are "not sufficiently characterized," and the health benefits of consuming them have not been established. The fallout may mean that in the short term, all 27 European Union member states may have to remove label and marketing reference to GI and implications of a health benefit via diabetic-type foods.

 

This negative for the industry could offer some positives, especially from the fortification markets where use of well-characterized and researched ingredients (such as fibers) could now find a new opportunity. To date, the category for foods that can help manage blood glucose and offer health benefits to prediabetics and diabetics has been a second cousin to pharma in the eyes of government. However, recent surveys show that the impact of dietary supplements could save the health care system $24 billion or more.

 

The future for the diabetic food and ingredient market in the United States is very strong, with increasing volumes of research emerging on well-established and more novel food ingredients. However, Europe is set to face more challenging times under the current Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, although this may stimulate more robust research benefiting both the functional-foods market and consumers.

The functional-foods market has always been a melting pot of innovation for foods that have minimal impact on blood glucose. One of the most popular marketing concepts for diabetic-type foods is the glycemic index, which represents how different foods influence blood-glucose levels—the higher the GI, the higher the rise in blood glucose.

According to a European Food Safety Authority opinion released in February, low-GI carbohydrates are "not sufficiently characterized," and the health benefits of consuming them have not been established. The fallout may mean that in the short term, all 27 European Union member states may have to remove label and marketing reference to GI and implications of a health benefit via diabetic-type foods.

This negative for the industry could offer some positives, especially from the fortification markets where use of well-characterized and researched ingredients (such as fibers) could now find a new opportunity. To date, the category for foods that can help manage blood glucose and offer health benefits to prediabetics and diabetics has been a second cousin to pharma in the eyes of government. However, recent surveys show that the impact of dietary supplements could save the health care system $24 billion or more.

The future for the diabetic food and ingredient market in the United States is very strong, with increasing volumes of research emerging on well-established and more novel food ingredients. However, Europe is set to face more challenging times under the current Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, although this may stimulate more robust research benefiting both the functional-foods market and consumers. 

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