Functional food and Superfoods

Functional food 

One of the trends in the field of food production is the development of recipes and the implementation of foodstuffs known as new generation food. As a result, products are created that meet the expectations of consumers. Taking into account the Act on the health conditions of food and nutrition in force in Poland, three separate categories of new-generation food can be distinguished. Among them, there are: food for special nutritional purposes, attributive food and novel food, which includes functional food.

The term functional foods has been present in the literature since the beginning of the 1990s. Its roots go back to Japan, where the research and production of this food on a larger scale was initiated. Functional foods are specially formulated foods that have a beneficial and documented effect on health as a result of the nutrients they contain. Apart from them, there are biologically active compounds that have a beneficial effect on health, psychophysical development, and reduce the risk of diseases. These foods must be similar to conventional foods, but must have beneficial effects on the body.

Functional foods can be divided according to the direction of their impact:

          • increasing the supply of nutrients in the case of increased demand in physiological conditions (sport, intensive development, growth, pregnancy),
          • influencing the inhibition of degenerative changes in the system,
          • supporting the treatment of certain diseases / diseases,
          • being a component of a properly balanced diet in disease states (e.g. diabetes, allergies),
          • supporting the mental and physical efficiency of the body.

The bioactive substances contained in functional food have a beneficial effect on the human body, but can also contribute to the improvement of well-being. After consuming this type of product, after a short time, a pro-health effect can be obtained, strengthening the body’s functions, while long-term consumption may reduce the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases. The biologically active ingredients contained in functional foods and intended to protect health include, but are not limited to:

          • phytochemicals with antioxidant properties (polyphenols, carotenoids, anthocyanins, glycosides, isoprenoids),
          • vitamins (vitamin C),
          • minerals,
          • dietary fiber,
          • polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA),
          • phytosterols,
          • pro-biotic microorganisms.

Bioactive compounds especially improve the health of the population by reducing the incidence and prevention of many chronic diseases, which include: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, arthritis, asthma, but also mental diseases (e.g. depression or dementia).


Nowadays, most people are more aware of the choice of products, often analyzing the composition and nutritional values ​​on the packaging. Consumers are also interested in new nutritional trends, which include, for example, “super food” (superfood). This trend was introduced to the European market a few years ago. However, before the selected products became superfood and became available and more popular, they were already present and used for centuries as a remedy for various diseases. Products of this type include, among others berries: acai, goji, chia seeds, grown in foreign countries. Among Polish food products, there are also examples of “super foods” such as garlic, sea buckthorn, elderberry, black chokeberry and even honey and bee products.

As a result of the economic development of the country, the importance of transport, including international transport, has increased, which has contributed significantly to the increase in the availability of exotic products (including superfood) and products previously unavailable in Poland. Superfood is defined as a marketing term whose purpose was to arouse interest and guide consumers to obtain knowledge about healthy and nutritious products. Even so, the term has also been formulated in the Oxford dictionary as follows: “nutrient-rich foods considered particularly beneficial to health and well-being.” Compared to standard food, they are characterized by a much higher concentration of nutrients in a smaller mass of the product, making them pro-health products.

The FoodSector company offers you services related to the development of innovative recipes and technologies for the production of functional and Superfood food.