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Good health, a shelf away

health-and-fitness Updated: May 18, 2011 01:05 IST
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From yoghurts that tout digestive benefits, to milk that claims to improve eyesight, you can expect to find more dual-purpose “functional foods” on your local grocery store shelves in the coming year.

Functional foods — foods that boast direct health benefits like aiding heart health or bone strength — have been growing globally by about 14 percent a year since 2003, says Matt Incles, market intelligence officer at Leatherhead Food Research in the UK. Closer home too, you will find gourmet stores such as Le Marche, Nature’s Basket and Spencer’s stocked up with healthy food products like yoghurts, energy drinks and granola bars.

While dairy products with digestive benefits have been the most dominant player in the market, consumers can expect a wider range of health claims. Bakery and cereals, for instance, have slowly been encroaching on the dairy-dominated industry. “We’re going to see a wider application of functional foods, like cereal products aiding digestion,” says Incles. Green tea, green coffee, and guarana — a South American shrub rich in caffeine — are increasingly being used in a swath of products.