Fostering relations with Eastern European countries will be a major focus of the European Functional Foodnet as it moves into the second half of its two-year remit.
The network, established in January 2006 to facilitate technology transfer, innovation, development and co-operation among about 150 mainly small-to-medium sized functional-foods and ingredients companies, is set to meet in Budapest in March. About 35 companies from various Eastern European countries are expected to attend. More than 20 European nations are represented in the network, which is funded via an $830,000 European Commission grant.
It met three times in 2006, with most participant companies FF&N spoke to relaying their enthusiasm for the project's idea-swapping and relationship-forming potential in the four main interest areas: cereals/bakery, dairy, oils/emulsions and beverages.
Network director Finn Holm said product-specific challenges such as developing allergy foods would be presented to companies in Budapest. "There will be important companies from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and others there, and if we can get an exchange of ideas and the formation of working relationships between east and west it will have been a very successful meeting," he said.