"The functional food area is expanding rapidly in most developed countries and there are significant commercial opportunities for companies. FFNet will help companies exploit these opportunities via its interactive workshop programme and company networks," explains the project's web-site.
Already participating are 140 companies including 21 from the nutraceutical sector, 21 ingredients, 17 bakery, and 22 dairy. Companies are based in 20 countries.
The project, which will run until 2008, has four principle goals: Technology and information transfer on scientific research, European and national markets, and legal considerations for functional food production and health claims in the EU; Proactive networking to establish new collaborations; Forming a collaborative platform of key European companies; and establishing trans-European product-specific working groups.
The first meeting took place in early March, and the second, to be held in Freising, Germany, is imminent (22-23 May 2006). The topics up for discussion will include novel bioactive components, antioxidants, lignans, phytochemicals, functional beverages, and regulatory aspects.
The first meeting of the Product Specific Network (PSN) is scheduled for September 2006 in Liverpool. The working groups will be selected to included non-competing companies from several European regions.
Although the number of participating companies has been set at 150, the ceiling has not been reached, according to the FFNet website, and opportunities remain for companies to join. Even after the cut-off point has been reached additional companies may take part in the General Network (GN) workshops, but attendance at the PSN is limited to actual members.
For more information, visit www.functionalfoodnet.org.