More than 120 companies from 15 European countries have applied to take part in a new European Commission plan to boost the activities of smaller functional foods and ingredients players.
The network, based in Denmark, aims to provide scientific, technical and marketing advice for functional foods manufacturers and ingredients suppliers. The scheme is not limited to Europe as companies from Australia and the US have also applied. Although funding has not yet been finalised, the network has enrolled many experts in product innovation, science, nutrition and marketing.
Its director, Finn Holm, explained the network aimed to build on previous research efforts undertaken by the EC and to complement other institutions such as Lund University in Sweden and Finland?s Functional Foods cluster at the Turku Science Park.
?The aim is to exploit science and research,? he said. ?We are keen to transfer technology from the science world to the functional foods and ingredients industry and then help companies market that technology.?
Member companies, none of which can be in competition with each other, will be grouped in categories of product-oriented sub-networks to assist selected companies.
?There will be one network within bakery, one within dairy and so on and we hope these groups will be completed with 18 months,? Holm said. ?We?ve been inundated with ingredient suppliers but we would like to see more manufacturers in the soft drink, bakery and dairy categories,? he noted.
The three-year project started in November and will continue to take applications for an indefinite period, although no more than six companies can be accepted from any European member state. After working with the network, companies will be expected to develop a business plan to bring the food/ingredient to market.
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