Fish on the menu for functional food research

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
2 June 2007, at 1:00am

NORWAY - Research and industry in Nordic countries are joining forces to develop healthier foods. And the healthy ingredients to come from the sea.

Consumers and producers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of diet and food for our health.

Which is why new products are constantly being launched that are fortified with additives that are supposed to provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These are products are often referred to as "functional foods".

A new research and industry network will contribute so that consumers will be able to choose from among a larger selection of functional products with positive health effects.

The goal of MARIFUNC - an acronym for Nordic Network for Marine Functional Food - is to develop foods that are healthier because they have been fortified with health-promoting ingredients.

The ingredients will come from fish and crustaceans.

"The purpose of MARIFUNC is, among other things, to document the health effects of marine ingredients in different foods", says Scientist Joop Luten at Fiskeriforskning.

He is coordinating a network with 15 partners from industry environments and research institutions in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Norway.

Better knowledge

It is well documented that seafood has positive health effects. But there is still limited knowledge about the connections between different components in fish and crustaceans and the actual health-related effects.

"With better knowledge and solid documentation in this field, it will also be possible to develop products that we know have positive health effects", says Luten.

The project is financed by Nordic Innovation Centre and will continue through 2008.