Healthy Consumers Drive Functional Foods Market Growth: Study

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Healthy Consumers Drive Functional Foods Market Growth: Study

Grocery stores have become hunting grounds for healthful, functional foods and beverages that offer distinct wellness advantages beyond basic nutrition, and this has boosted sales of such products by 6 percent to almost $31 billion in 2008, according to a new study by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

“Consumers are re-evaluating their health, nutrition and lifestyle choices adopted years ago,” said Tatjana Meerman, publisher of New York-based Packaged Facts. “This reevaluation includes considering the role functional foods and beverages could or should play in diets in order to avoid or help treat all kinds of health conditions. This new, proactive approach is fundamentally different from the reactive tendencies of consumers in the past who only treated health problems after they arose.”

According to “Functional Foods and Beverages in the U.S., 4th Edition,” during the five-year period from 2003 to 2008, several functionally oriented food and beverage categories performed well, including yogurt, energy drinks, nutritional snacks and trail mixes, milk substitutes and soymilk, and refrigerated blended fruit drinks. Packaged Facts projects that total U.S. retail sales of functional foods and beverages will continue to grow at a steady pace through 2013, reaching approximately $43 billion.

Though the market has not proved to be recession-proof, it has advantages that could prevent it from being as vulnerable as most other markets, according to Packaged Facts. In the short term, functional products may save consumers money, since these foods and beverages carry nutrients that shoppers would otherwise seek in expensive nutritional supplements. In the long run, functional products save consumers money on medical expenses by helping to prevent illness and chronic conditions.

The study examines global trends in new product introductions by geographic region and company, explores developing markets poised for growth, and profiles major marketers. An exclusive feature of the report is custom survey data from Packaged Facts’ February 2009 online poll of 2,600 U.S. adults, which was conducted to measure purchasing patterns, attitudes and demographics specific to functional foods and beverages.

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