Functional ingredients; quo vadis?


Active Nutrition, DuPont Nutrition & Health, 02460 Kantvik, Finland
Member of AgroFood industry Hi Tech Scientific Advisory Board

Over the past few years, many jurisdictions have tightened regulations around health claims. In general this is for good reasons; with the attempt to protect the consumer from misleading information. Also for manufacturers, a stricter legislation is not necessarily a bad thing. Those who invest in the documentation of their products can stand out of the crowd and would be able to make more specific statements and see a return on investment. It would also stimulate innovation as manufacturers would be motivated to seek new health targets and work on documentation for the active ingredients in question; that is how in recent years plant stanols and sterols have found their way to the market; to the benefit of consumer and manufacturer alike.
Unfortunately, this theory does not always seem to work that way in practice. It is easy to blame the legislative bodies and/or the experts they are using. Although some Consumer Organizations would certainly argue that current legislation is not strict enough; the truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle. Several active ingredients (outside the ‘traditional’ vitamins and minerals) have been quite well investigated albei ...