However, the increasingly challenging regulatory environment coupled with continuing economic gloom has also made many firms think twice about dipping their toes in the functional food space.
So is now a good time to take the plunge, or do the costs and potential risks outweigh the benefits?
These questions will be top of the agenda at a major new conference on functional foods in Oxford on November 25-26 hosted by the Functional Food Centre at Oxford Brookes University.
The two-day event will be a unique opportunity to interact with some of the world leaders in functional foods, said professor Jeya Henry, director of the functional food centre and a leading authority on diet and glycaemic response.
Topics will include everything from the health benefits of beta-glucans to the bioavailability of polyphenols, thermogenic food ingredients to battle the bulge and nutraceuticals from palm.
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