Most food products represent mature categories where brand differentiation is a difficult challenge. Aggressive firms with strong technical development capability will use the interest in health and nutrition as an opportunistic way to differentiate and add value to their brand of product.
During the past few years we have seen the traditional vitamin supplement companies offer customized products for men, women, smokers, joggers, osteoporosis, menopause and children. Look for the food industry to follow suit. The nutraceutical/functional foods market will mature offering foods and beverages not only for improved lifestyle and performance, but also for those with risk factors for the major diseases and those afflicted with chronic conditions.
Over 100 companies are actively selling or developing products that could in due course fit into the category of functional foods. Over 70% of the products are estimated to be drinks; the remainder are foods. The distribution of ingredients in various potential functional foods is estimated to be dietary fibre (40%), calcium (20%), oligosaccharides (20%), lactic acid bacteria (10%) and other (10%) (R. Reid, personal communication).
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