Functional foods are similar to conventional foods, but provide a demonstrated physiological benefit or reduction in the risk of chronic disease, above and beyond the traditional function121. The bioactive ingredients in these functional foods may be naturally occurring, added to the food or their activity increased during processing122. Consumer interest in the relationship between diet and health has increased the demand for functional foods and foods that promote well-being121.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has described functional foods as being "similar in appearance to conventional foods and intended to be consumed as part of a normal diet, but modified to serve physiological roles beyond the provision of simple nutrient requirements"122.
Functional foods and beverages can include fatty acids such as omega 3, dietary fibre such as beta glucan, phytochemicals, antioxidants, probiotics, and a variety of other biologically active substances123.
Australia is well positioned to "develop the functional foods industry for domestic and export markets" due to the country’s "commitment to quality and safety, investment in innovation, collaboration between industry and government, and well-established food industry"121.
Queensland’s biodiversity and wide range of horticulture supports the development of alternative foods (such as rainforest and bush foods) through the varied climatic conditions available23. The State has a reputation for delivering clean, safe and high quality produce.
An increase in "global demand for health-conscious products presents a unique opportunity for companies interested in functional foods"23.
*Please refer to the 2013 LSQ Member Directory for references.