How coffee performs within functional food trends
Although functional food has been in the spotlight for many years, the term has become popular recently along with consumption. Functional food products are those that, besides having nutrients, feature biological compounds that have effects on one or several functions of the body, improving health and reducing risks of suffering some diseases.
Over the last 20 years, functional food began to appear and be consumed in the United States, the most popular being yogurt with probiotics. It has been followed by others such as eggs enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, fortified cereals, margarines with phytosterols (Benecol), cauliflower rice, and beverages prepared with superfruits (featuring exceptional nutritional properties), among others.
It is noteworthy that food is functional in different ways, for example, by increasing a component naturally present or replacing one component with another that is more beneficial for the organism.
Some benefits of functional food are focused on gastrointestinal functions, have antioxidant properties, or help in metabolism of macronutrients; others are beneficial for breastfeeding and pregnancy, or even intervene in psychological functions, like caffeine or ginseng.
Coffee, a functional beverage par excellence
Coffee is considered functional because of its multiple health benefits. Its beans contain vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and chlorogenic acid (a substance that gives the bean its antioxidant properties).
The Bethesda National Cancer Institute (Maryland, United States) revealed that coffee consumption has positive effects on the liver, reduces risks of suffering from cirrhosis, and also plays an important role in prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The properties of coffee also favor circulation and increase levels of molecules that burn fat (thermogenic effect), among other benefits.
Buencafé, an expert in production and commercialization of freeze-dried soluble coffee, together with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), have analyzed the beneficial effects of coffee on the organism and other natural ingredients that, together with this drink, multiply functional benefits for consumers around the world.
Carlos Osorio, Buencafé’s R&D Director, explains a little about this consumption trend and the importance of functional products in the coffee industry.
What are the global trends of functional products in the coffee industry?
In functional food in general, there are trends of natural products that help lead a healthy life. In coffee there is a trend of products rich in antioxidants that help control body weight and delay the aging process, as well as products with ingredients that strengthen the immune system to defend the body more efficiently against diseases.
We have talked about mushrooms in coffee, what other products of this type are setting trends?
There are fungi and mushrooms that provide nutrients and have components that help the body be strong and react efficiently against diseases. There are also “superfruits” that contain high concentrations of functional elements and, when combined with coffee, potentiate natural functional benefits while featuring delicious flavor.
What are the benefits of these products (in the coffee segment) for health and well-being of consumers?
Coffee, together with functional natural ingredients, helps detoxify the body and provides antioxidants and vitamins that strengthen the immune system that fights diseases. That’s why consumers feel it helps them prevent and reduce effects of multiple illnesses, and, together with a healthy behavior, favor body weight control.
Which are the main countries where these types of products are already consumed?
The millenarian cultures in the Far East have incorporated functional benefits of natural food into their daily lives and established a link between modern scientific studies and ancestral knowledge. In the West, awareness about use of natural functional products on a large scale is much more recent.
The FNC and Buencafé are prepared to face the new challenges imposed by global markets and demands by new consumers, who are more and more active. So they have been gathering information for many years about beneficial effects of coffee on the organism, and, along with other natural ingredients, how it multiplies functional benefits for consumers around the world.
This year, Buencafé will continue expanding its portfolio of products and services with its quality and innovation hallmarks.
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