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The UK market for functional foods on a bone health platform grew 6.8% in the year to March 2010, but at just GBP38 million (NZD$82 million), it still represents a niche part of the GBP556 million functional foods market, according to citing data from Kantar Worldpanel.

The report said on a global level, meanwhile, the market for bone health food and drink products has remained stubbornly flat at around USD$2.1 billion  over the last decade, according to Leatherhead Food Research (LFR) market intelligence manager Chris Brockman, who presented the data at an LFR conference on bone health.

The challenge, Brockman said was engaging consumers, given that osteoporosis prevention was not top of mind for many shoppers and functional foods in the bone health arena also offered no immediate benefits, unlike products such as probiotics.

However, there were signs that the market was picking up, with the number of new products launched on a bone health platform rising sharply in 2009/10 with firms expanding beyond dairy, beverages, cereals and bakery into a range of products from calcium-enriched popcorn snacks to canned fruit salad with calcium-enriched fruit juice, said Mintel trends and innovation consultant Carla Ogeia Lewis.

Indeed, the number of new bone health launches in the UK in 2009 (508) was more than double the figure for 2008 (252), while there had already been 367 new products in the first eight months of this year, suggesting that 2010 would be a record year, she said.

Major launches in the last three years included Calcifort – a dairy drink from FieslandCampina with calcium and vitamin D; Activ Ossia – a dairy drink from Spanish dairy firm Clesa containing calcium and inulin/oligofructose for improved calcium absorption; and Densia (pictured) – a calcium and vitamin D-enriched yogurt from Danone targeting women aged 40+.

There was also encouraging news on the regulatory front, with bone health ingredients – notably calcium and vitamin D- faring well under the EU health claims regime, in sharp contrast to most other functional food ingredients.

– Source: Dairy


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