Functional Foods as Commodities
Though notoriously hard to define, this entry adopts an understanding of functional foods as food products marketed for their health benefits. This definition includes products as diverse as calcium-fortified orange juice, omega-3-enriched eggs, and cholesterol-reducing margarine. The concept of functional foods encompasses both the application of nutritional science and technology to the development of food products and ingredients designed to deliver certain health benefits and the unprecedented level of marketing of food, nutrition, and health required to promote the concept (Heasman and Mellentin 2001). It is closely tied to the ability of manufacturers to make direct or implied health claims on product labels and in advertisements, an area of global regulatory friction. Market actors, not public authorities, drive the development of such products. While functional food...
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