2007/713 Functional foods review
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2007/713 Functional foods review

By Linda Tapsell and Karen Charlton



This report examines seafood related global activity in the functional foods area with the aim of contributing to conceptual frameworks for the Australian seafood industry. It provides a scope of nutrition research providers (reflecting capability), an identification of trends in research (reflecting opportunity), and a description of funding models for establishing clusters of functional food research. Knowledge from this analysis may contribute to the establishment of a functional food research cluster for the Australian Seafood industry.

Given its size, Australia has a well developed capacity in functional food research, including an understanding of models of strategic development. This capacity mainly lies in the study of fish oils, the analysis of seafood composition, and specific nutrition methodologies for addressing the health benefits of seafood and developing nutrition policy. There is capacity in developing omega 3 enriched foods, which could compete with seafood for a place in the diet, and therefore on the market.

Australia does not have a long history of nutrition research investment with the seafood industry and appears to lag behind Europe in this regard. It should be noted that the main Australian export market - Asia - has a heavy demand for functional food products, and Australian seafood could miss out on an important marketing opportunity if the industry is not more responsive to innovative product development.

Australian R&D in nutrition and seafood appears to be aligned with the areas of development identified in this review. A reasonable way forward would be to focus on specific strengths and desired outcomes, and to build links and networks attached to capabilities to enable an Australia specific innovation platform.