Launch of National Functional Foods Forum in Ireland

Forum is critical in developing and implementing a strategic plan for the sector

Enterprise Ireland is confident that the growing functional foods sector has a significant future in Ireland and is launching a National Functional Foods Forum to drive its strategic development. The forum was announced by Mike Feeney, Executive Director for Food, Enterprise Ireland today (10 December 2004) while speaking in Teagasc, Fermoy at a 'Food for Health' event organised by the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) based at UCC and Teagasc, Moorepark.

Commenting on the importance of the functional foods sector, Mike Feeney said, "Across the world stage, the emergence of new technologies and the growing consumer recognition of the importance of health and well-being, offer endless opportunity in the functional foods sector. This opens up a potentially hugely significant market for investment. The Irish food industry is being presented with a real opportunity to develop new products, new markets and new businesses that focus on food and its health-enhancing role in modern lifestyle. The challenge is, how to realise this potential.

"Ireland is well positioned to make its mark in this sector. An existing strong food and pharma industries base, ample availability of quality raw materials, state-of-the-art food and drink research centres, world class third level institutions, and technically advanced companies, all combine to make the environment right. Our aim should be to develop Ireland as an internationally recognised centre of functional food development and manufacturing. Over the next five years, our target should be to reach annual output of sales of €250m and exports of €200m', he continued.

Describing the role of the National Functional Foods Forum, Mike Feeney said, "The forum, representing industry, the research community and the state sector will focus on devising and implementing a developmental strategy for the sector, and on building the essential national consensus to achieve its full potential. We will need a deep commitment by industry to R&D and innovation, and a collaborative drive in funding and facilitating innovation involving industry, the State sector and research partners. The future success of the functional foods sector depends on this essential collaboration between all the players".

Concluding, Mike Feeney announced that Joseph F. Harford, President & Chief Executive Officer of Yamanouchi Ireland Co, Ltd. and the Chairman of IBEC's Energy Policy Committee will chair the Forum.

- ENDS -

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