Rich dividends for investments in functional food
The global awareness of a healthy lifestyle and consumption of healthy foods around the planet among consumers has heightened. Several consumers are even ready to pay extra money for high-quality foods that are rich in specialized nutrients. This has driven global nutraceutical or functional food industries into more investments and improvements in food technology and research, which in turn have generated rapid employment and brought rich dividends for producer countries in terms of foreign exchange.
For example, nutraceutical bread is a specialized and value-added food product containing specialized constituents beneficial to consumer health. The ingredients incorporated into such new value-added products have rich medicinal properties and can reduce the risk of specific health problems like cardiovascular diseases. Some of the ingredients incorporated into nutraceutical bread could be whole wheat, barley, maize, soy flour, sorghum bran, hemp hearts, flax seed, fenugreek seed or sunflower seed, to mention a handful used to enrich the nutritional content and medicinal properties of the final bread produced. The ingredients of nutraceutical bread are not limited to these constituents; they vary according to modern research and development and new innovations, emerging rapidly in the realm of nutraceutical and functional food industries around the globe.
Countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia, which are rich in food biodiversity and strong agricultural heritage, possess huge potentials for developing nutraceutical and functional food industries that can compete in a global market worth several billion dollars. These countries also have a rich heritage of research and development, skilled personnel, technological innovations—hence, of initial investment, too—in the nutraceutical and functional food industries that can pay back rich dividends for the countries in the not so distant future.
—SAIKAT KUMAR BASU, Apt 6-409, 43 Street South, Lethbridge AB Canada T1J 4B3
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