‘Functional food’ technology centre receives €21.6m funding boost

Dr Nessa Noronha, Health Ireland; Minister Heather Humphreys; Alexa Toomey, Enterprise Ireland
Dr Nessa Noronha, Health Ireland; Minister Heather Humphreys; Alexa Toomey, Enterprise Ireland

Food for Health’s centre will establish Ireland as a leader in €250bn functional food market

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28 November 2019 | 0

Food for Health Ireland has secured €21.6 million in funding for its ‘functional food’ technology centre. Based in University College Dublin (UCD), the centre aims to improve global health through functional food innovations. These foods go beyond just providing nutrition – they help to promote optional health and reduce risk of disease.

Over the next five years, Food for Health Ireland will receive €7.2 million in funding from Enterprise Ireland. Irish industry partners and competitive sources will both match this figure, bringing the total to €21.6 million.

It has been forecast that by 2023, the global market for functional food will be worth €250 billion. Many consumers want health-enhancing ingredients to come in their foods, not pills said director of Food for Health Ireland. “Preventative, holistic and natural health is replacing reactive treatment worldwide. The kind of research and insights we provide at Food for Health Ireland supports the food industry in maintaining a pipeline and a pathway for new functional foods to meet these mega-trends. World-class consumer-driven research is key to innovation in this space, and our vision is to make Ireland a world leader in improving global health through functional food.

“Food for Health Ireland has spent over a decade building a unique innovation ecosystem that brings together leaders in food and health research, industry, policy, marketing and investment,” said Dr Noronha. “Working with our industry partners – Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia Ireland and Kerry – we have developed a world-class model for collaboration and we are now ideally placed to expand our network to include start-ups, SMEs and other large and international players in the food and drink sector who need our support to innovate in the functional food space.”

Prof Dolores O’Riordan, lead scientist, Food for Health Ireland, and director of the UCD Institute of Food & Health, said: “Our focus is on providing safe, sustainable and scientifically-proven innovations in food. Our research addresses the growing desire globally for health-enhancing ingredients and functional food – from healthier cheeses to sustainable dairy practices to environmentally beneficial food innovations.”

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