Where there's a will there's always a way

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Gary Scattergood, associate editor, Food Manufacture
Gary Scattergood, associate editor, Food Manufacture
Make no mistake about it, the fallout from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) health claims regime is still being keenly felt by functional food firms. The new system was nothing short of a culture shock and - even setting aside the wider arguments about whether it is the right science-based approach to regulating functional ingredients - there are plenty of individual battles still being waged.

While not belittling the impact of this system on businesses, there was a growing consensus at this year's Vitafoods show in Geneva that it was time to move on. Professor Paul Clayton set the tone by claiming the relationship between regulators and firms had gone from one of mistrust to contempt. He rightly pointed out that not only was that counterproductive for both parties, but it was also doing a disservice to consumers. As he said, with "the public health rating on junk"​, the failure of regulators and businesses to collectively tackle this has been nothing short of "public health malpractice".

While his comments might sting, they also reveal a great opportunity: now, perhaps more than ever, there is an overwhelming need for functional foods. As Robin Wyers from research firm Innova Market Insights put it, now is the time to stop complaining, because there are plenty of new markets available.

In this edition we assess a number of growing opportunities for food firms to innovate and incorporate the latest ingredients.

We look at how the new generation of high-oleic sunflower and rapeseed oils can slash levels of saturated fats​; we hear from new Beneo boss Matthias Moser about the "tragedy of obesity"​, which his firm is attempting to tackle; while on we also look at the latest range of fruit-based functional ingredients​ which, as one expert tells us, is undergoing the same levels of research as dairy-based ingredients did 20 years ago. The increasing use of fruit-based ingredients shows the industry at its best, with many of the more savvy firms hit by the ban on probiotics now using fruit ingredients and repositioning their marketing alongside their approved health claims instead. As Wyers puts it, health claims rejection need not be the be all and end all.

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