Functional Foods

>> Friday, June 12, 2009

As the lines blur between food and drugs, consumer confusion, skeptism, and price sensitivity grows, so says this article about Functional Foods (foods that have a "health function"):
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Cheerios and the blurring between food and drugs as the FDA is starting to take note.

This is an incredibly fascinating trend in health and wellness that I know will continue to grow. I was there from the beginning at Johnson & Johnson and we are still only seeing the first signs of a shift in consumer products.

As we continue to pursue a more healthy lifestyle, and as we continue to fight to keep young and healthy, all of us will continue to turn to products that aid in that fight. We will turn to products, specifically food products, that will perhaps help us avoid turning to pharmaceutical products once we are sick.

It's a blurring of the lines that I think is quite healthy. There's no reason why health benefits should only be limited to prescription or OTC drugs. There should be a range of product options from food to OTCs to pharmaceuticals to services that in any category can help consumers stay well.

Digestive health is a good example. There are certainly OTC products available that provide relief. And if the condition is chronic, then prescription alternatives can treat it as appropriate. But then there are the everyday food products that have recently hit the market that can be woven into our daily lifestyle (like drinks, yogurts, cheeses, etc) -- perhaps so effective that the OTC and prescription options never have to be exercised. Or only exercised as options should the condition get worse.

Blurring the lines, yes. Causing consumer confusion, maybe for now in some cases, but that will change over time. Providing consumers with a range of options that best fit their needs, absolutely.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


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