Functional food and bevarages – new trend on Polish market


Functional food and bevarages – new trend on Polish market

detoxThe global market of functional food and beverages has been rapidly growing.
So far, pretty popular in USA, Japan and Western Europe, functional products little by little have been hitting Polish shelves.

Where and when it all started?

Japan is deemed to be the cradle of functional foods. First products enriched in ingredients having specific, additional health benefits were launched onto the market already in 80’ of XX century.
It was a response to the problems Japan had to had to face: the aging population and the high cost of medical care.
Keeping in mind that ‘prevention is better than cure’, the Japanese Ministry of Health issued a FOSHU (Foods for Specified Health Use) certificate. It was designed for conventional products, of which consumption was claimed to be particularly beneficial for health.

Comparing to other world regions, functional food is not so widely known in Poland, yet this situation seems to change. According to research conducted by Gemius for On Board PR, only one in ten respondents knew the concept of functional foods and nearly 70% of Poles have never heard of it. It doesn’t mean that the functional products on the Polish market are not available though.

So what is actually the category of functional foods?

There is no one universal definition of functional food. However, all definitions beyond small differences point out that functional products, apart from fulfiling nutritional needs, must have further properties beneficial to the body.

Similar situation may relate to functional drinks. No universal definition may cause some problems identifying which products are included in the category of functional beverages and which are not.
International consulting firm Zenith International has made the divided functional drinks on following categories:
– Enriched drinks (made on the basis of herbs, functional water)
– Sports drinks (isotonic, hypertonic, hypotonic)
– Energy drinks
– Nutraceuticals (i.e. ’well-being’ drink)

Based on the criteria of application, functional drinks can be divided into:
– Vitamin drinks wellness – their aim is to have a positive impact on the overall physical condition and well-being
– Isotonic drinks – designed primarily for people who are physically active. They protect the body against dehydration, provide carbohydrates and electrolytes supplementation
– Energy drinks – are intended primarily for people who want to raise their physical or concentration level

With no doubt, growing popularity of functional foods and beverages is associated primarily with nutrition awareness increase as well as trends of healthy living and physical activity. It may suggest that in the near future, market of functional products in Poland will expand, so that consumers will have wider and easier access to ‘double win’ products.

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