Magazine article Marketing

Firms Test Medical Food

Magazine article Marketing

Firms Test Medical Food

Article excerpt

Firms test medical food

A top-secret alliance of major overseas food companies is planning to unleash a wave of controversial "functional foods" in the UK.

Food designed for its direct physiological impact on the human body has already taken a slice of Far Eastern markets.

There, foods with ingredients associated with stroke and cancer prevention, the lowering of cholesterol and the improvement of digestion are forecast to capture 5% of Japan's Y20 trillion food market within a few years.

Now major Japanese milk and dairy products company Meiji has joined with France's second biggest food company Beghin-Say to employ UK chemists to confirm claims for oligosaccharides, an ingredient spearheading the growth of the functional food sector in Japan.

Oligosaccharides accelerate the growth of bacterial cultures in the intestine, improving digestion. They are also said to be anti-carcinogenic. So far oligosaccharide-enhanced baby rusks and biscuits have been sold on the Japanese market - but no UK foods use them yet.

If functional food reaches the UK market it could ignite a smouldering controversy begun last year when Kellogg marketed its Common Sense oat bran cereal by linking it to cholesterol and heart disease reduction. …

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