SINGAPORE: The Health Promotion Board (HPB) hopes to rope in local food companies to develop at least 30 new functional food prototypes over the next three years.
Known as the FINEST Food Programme, HPB is partnering SPRING Singapore to help food manufacturers tap the expertise of food scientists and transform their ideas into commercial realities.
They’re offering grants worth more than S$10,000 for this purpose.
A functional food is similar in appearance to conventional food but has ingredients that are said to confer health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
These include yoghurts containing bacterial cultures and eggs with Omega—3 fat.
Speaking at the start of the two—day FINEST Food Symposium and Exhibition, Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor said functional foods is one of the fastest—growing segments in the global food industry.
The functional food market is estimated to be worth $38 billion by 2014, with Asia Pacific accounting for 40 per cent of total market share.
"These numbers must surely give our food manufacturers some food for thought, and I urge them to make use of the opportunities and support available to build a successful functional food business that is beneficial to health locally and beyond."
The FINEST Food Programme was launched last October as a one—stop resource hub to equip industry players venturing into the functional foods market with the necessary knowledge and skills.
The exhibition will feature a diverse range of prototypes, from low Glycemic Index (GI) noodles that help in diabetes management, to heart—friendly foods and beverages fortified with Omega—3.
It will also offer participants a chance to go behind the scenes by scheduling visits to local application laboratories and innovation centres for valuable hands—on experience.
Chief Executive Officer at HPB, Mr Ang Hak Seng, said: "Nutrition science has moved from the classical concept of adequate nutrition to optimal nutrition, with more food products designed to optimise well—being, as well as reduce the risk of disease.
"Our National Nutrition Survey findings indicate that most Singaporeans’ daily food intake meets the recommendations for protein, vitamins and minerals. Those who consume Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) products fare even better as their diets would likely be rich in nutrients but low in sodium and saturated fat. However, more can be done to help Singaporeans gain optimum nutrition in the fight against chronic diseases.
"For a start, we will be focusing on foods with low GI or fortified with Omega—3 fat, which can help with diabetes management and active aging. To encourage companies to develop functional foods with these components, such as wholegrain noodles with a low Glycemic Index or soy milk and beancurd fortified with Omega—3, HPB is introducing two new HCS variants to help consumers identify such products."
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