Digestive health products are No.1 functional food, global study

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Digestive health products are No.1 functional food, global study

Related tags Digestive health Nutrition

Digestive health is the primary focus of food products marketed around the world for an added health benefit – except in the United States, reveal new market figures.

The health condition tops all other functional food claims in 23 out of 24 countries tracked by Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Data relating to new food and beverage launches in those countries between 2005 and 2009 to date reveal a total of 2,861 new products claiming to promote digestive health. This is over 163 percent more than the next most popular category – cardiovascular health – which saw 1,089 new product launches in the period.

The countries included in the analysis include the US and Japan, as well as a range of European countries.

In contrast to all other markets tracked, the United States was the only country not to list digestive health as the top product claim. However, it did come a close second to the top health category in this market, which was cardiovascular health.

Top health claims globally

The figures provided to NutraIngredients-USA.com reveal the following top ten health claims made on global food and beverage launches since 2005:

  • Digestive health (2,861 products)
  • Cardiovascular health (1,089)
  • Immune system (807)
  • Vitamin/mineral fortified (692)
  • Bone health (456)
  • Reduced cholesterol (426)
  • Added calcium (321)
  • Added fiber (314)
  • Brain and nervous system (308)
  • Beauty benefits (206)

Top claims by market


Last week, NutraIngredients-USA.com reported on the top markets for functional food launches. These were led by the US, which accounted for 30 percent of all functional launches in 2008, followed by Italy, Japan and the UK. To read the full article, click here​.

United States: ​Mintel’s GNPD tracked 1,408 introductions of functional food or beverage products (classed as those that carry some form of health claim on their labels) between 2005 and 2009 to date.

Top claims in the US were cardiovascular health (426 new products) and digestive health (364).

Italy: ​GNPD tracked 592 new products during the period, led by those making claims for digestive health (336), the immune system (99) and cardiovascular health (65).

Japan: ​There were 535 functional foods and beverages launched in Japan over the five years, with top categories being digestive health (199), vitamin/mineral fortified (84) and cardiovascular (31).

UK: ​Out of the 530 new products launched in the UK, the top health claims were made for digestive health (203) and cardiovascular health (103).

Top product categories


The products most likely to be fortified in order to deliver added health benefits to the consumer were:

  • Spoonable yogurt
  • Drinking yogurt and cultured milk
  • Tea
  • Cheese
  • Snacks/cereals/energy bars

Source: Mintel’s GNPD

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