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Added Functionality in Foods

Today’s consumer is taking a hands-on approach to their health and turning to foods and beverages with added functionality to meet their individual goals. Consumers have long turned to supplements and functional beverages as a means of consuming health-enhancing ingredients, but are now utilizing foods as a key delivery system. In fact, of 85% of consumers prefer to consume health-enhancing ingredients through food, and further 49% believe this to be the most effective format to do so.[1]

Functional foods can be generally defined as a food that has been fortified, enhanced or enriched with an added nutrient or ingredient to have a potentially beneficial effect on health. As consumers look for unique and personalized ways to address their health and wellness needs, the added functionality of foods formulated with a health-enhancing ingredient presents a key opportunity for manufacturers.


There are a number of reasons why consumers may choose food as their preferred way to obtain nutritional ingredients. A functional snack like a nutritional bar is both convenient and able to be eaten on-the-go. This nutritional bar, for example, at the same time provides the multi-purpose benefit of satiety combined with the health benefits specific to the functional ingredient.

Reasons Consumers Choose Functional Foods:


Food is also a key means for many consumers to take control of their nutrition and general wellbeing with 60% of consumers using food and drink to improve their health.[3] Finally, foods that have been fortified with a health-enhancing functional ingredient are easily incorporated into existing routines, be it breakfast on-the-go, after school snacks, or a post-workout recovery meal.

Manufacturers and brands are innovating within the category and enriching products from nutritional bars and baked goods to yogurt and healthy snacks with the in-demand benefits that functional ingredients can provide. Adding functionality to foods can enhance the value of a product in the eyes of the consumer by offering specific health benefits that are targeted to certain need states. In order to clearly communicate this value to consumers, it’s imperative for manufacturers to select a branded functional ingredient backed by scientific-research supporting its efficacy, safety, and stability in formulation. Doing so will help to build consumer confidence in a product, fostering brand loyalty and, ultimately, driving repeat purchases.


If you want to better understand the functional food market, global trends and key innovation opportunities start by downloading our white paper: The Secret to Creating Successful Functional Foods – a step-by-step guide.


[1] GlobalData Trendsights Analysis: Personalized Health, Oct 2016.

[2] GlobalData Global Consumer Survey, 2014.

[3] GlobalData Global Consumer Survey, Q4 2017.

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