Consumer response to functional foods in the 21st century
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In recent years, “functional foods” have become increasingly popular. Defined as foods or food components that may provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition, functional foods are widely believed to offer consumers an increased ability to reduce the risk of certain health problems including cancer, osteoporosis, and even childhood blindness. The food industry has produced new products enriched with “functional” compounds such as soy or vitamin E and emphasized the new-found value of old products containing essential nutrients. The news media have contributed to this trend by heralding the health benefits of foods like Vitamin A enriched rice, cranberry juice and tomato sauce naturally containing lycopene. This rapid enthusiasm, however, raises the question: Is this a temporary market trend? Or the signal of a major shift in how consumers relate to food?
AgBioForum 3(1) 2000: 14-19.