Functional foods examples cut across many retail food categories. The most familiar functional foods examples are the variety of yogurts that contain Probiotics and Prebiotics,. The brand Activia is probably the most advertised product and I like to use Activia to illustrate a product example that is a Functional Food.
Currently FDA and USDA do not define a category for functional foods so it is somewhat fuzzy. My viewpoint of Functional Foods are products that make explicit claimsthat they contain certain ingredients that have some disease prevention benefits or support bodily health. Examples you have seen either advertised or on a brand label would be improving digestive health, immunity from certain diseases, improved brain functionality, etc. Some Functional foods have approved FDA Health Claims, such as [claims from the FDA, such as: "Diets low in fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease."]
Packaged Facts a leading source for market data, trends, and analysis in consumer industries, including food release their latest report Wellness Ingredients: Culinary Trend Mapping Report . It is one of many reports with a focus on functional foods examples and health and wellness trends. The report illustrates wellness ingredients and the maturity level of consumer acceptance. Wow, that is a mouthful, but actually it is easy when we break it down.
Packaged Facts notes that many cultures have uses a variety of "… herbs, spices, barks, teas, soups and what-have you… administered to make a body better." Unless you go shopping with a blindfold and have earplugs when the television or radio is on this is becoming a serious trend in better for you foods.
This trend was well researched in the Symphony IRI report Health & Wellness: Redefining Healthy Living . Simply put, " The market for functional and better for you food and beverages is growing quickly, driven by consumers' heightened awareness and understanding of the important role food and beverages play in living a healthy life "
With more variety of better for you foods, the consumer is more likely to experiment with foods containing new ingredients. The economy spurred the DIY healthcare trends and the growth of social media and internet resources makes it easy for all of us to be more educated on specific foods, some are now called " superfoods", that may be alternates to expensive medical alternatives. Most of us would rather consider functional foods vs. taking expensive medications. WebMd lists their Top Superfoods Offering Super Health Protection that include Blueberries -- Antioxidant Superfood, Omega 3-Rich Fish -- Superfoods for the Heart, Joints, and Memory, Fiber -- Superfood Aids Weight Loss and Checks Cholesterol, etc.
Packaged Facts report focused on wellness ingredients that they say are "… ingredients having been consumed for healthfulness by cultures around the world for centuries, and are finding new life today in natural food stores as well as the natural food aisles in mainstream grocery stores."