Nordic team makes hearty waves in sea research

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Functional foods, Functional food, Nutrition

An update on the work of the Nordic Network for Marine Functional
Foods - which is looking into developing new functional foods from
marine life - was given in Norway yesterday.

The network, know as Marifunc, was set up in 2006 with the aim of strengthen the marine based food industry in Nordic countries by developing innovative marine functional foods or ingredients. Among the group's work, researchers have been looking at the potential beneficial effects of cod protein against cardiovascular disease related to obesity and type-2 diabetes. If the project is successful, it could pave the way for new ingredients to target the heart heath market. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the cause of almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169bn ($202bn) per year. The ocean could offer a wealth of exciting and innovative functional food ingredients just waiting to be tapped. For many countries the ocean is a substantive natural resource. Further details of the presentations given at Seafood days, held in Trondheim, were not available prior to publication. Obstacle ​ Set up by the Nordic Innovation Centre, Marifunc is due to run until next year. It has already conducted work into consumer research into marine-derived functional foods. According to Marifunc, "studies on consumer acceptance of functional food show some conflicting conclusions." ​However, it did find that apart from knowledge of omega-3, consumer knowledge was generally quite low which "could be a potential barrier to acceptance." ​Marifunc is not the only group to be looking at the potential of the sea to provide healthy food ingredients. Ireland's Marine Functional Food Research Initiative (MFFRI) has been granted €5million to concentrate on three areas of research - the use of fish processing waste, the sustainable exploitation of underutilised species of fish and seaweed, and the development of value-added products from aquaculture.

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