Finland is considered the world leader in the development of functional or health-enhancing foods. A strong tradition of pre-emptive health care has made clinical nutrition a natural subject for Finnish research. Considerable investment in research in this field has led to significant discoveries and the emergence of new companies in the sector. The demand for functional foods is expected to continue to grow.
Generally, functional foods are considered to be products which, in addition to their nutritional function, have been scientifically proven to enhance health or prevent illness. However, functional foods have not as yet been defined by legislation in Europe.
Whether a consequence of the traditional Finnish diet or of the widespread dietary diseases that became common in the 1950s, health-enhancing foods are today an area of special expertise in Finnish food science. In addition to our international flagships – Benecol, Xylitol and Lactobacillus GG – many other functional food products less well known abroad have been developed in this country.