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Functional foods vs. "Like grandma made" foods

The fight of the century could be coming soon to your store aisles.

In one corner are functional foods. They’re slick, formulated, fortified and (arguably) enhanced by science.

In the other corner are “like grandma made” foods. They’re simple, pure, homestyle and (arguably) enhanced by nature.

U.S. consumer sales of functional foods and beverages grew 2.7 percent to $37.4 billion in 2009, according to Nutrition Business Journal’s latest functional food and beverage market estimates.

As for “like grandma made” foods, it’s perhaps hard to pinpoint sales growth in the diverse category. But one measure of success is new product introduction. Innova Market Insights, an online new product tracking tool, found that manufacturers introduced nearly 1,000 new products using the word “simple,” “simplest” or “simplicity” in 2009 compared to 467 in 2008. Use of the word “pure,” “purity” or “purely” grew from 3,013 new products in 2008 to 5,705 in 2009. In the first four months of 2010, products positioned as “natural” or “preservative free” were up only slightly to 2,137 new U.S. products compared to 2,052 in the same period of 2009, but these products rose dramatically from the 1,155 recorded in the January through April 2008 period.

Who are you rooting for in this match? Or do you think it'll be a draw, and both product types will be winners in natural products store aisles?

Sound off below.

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