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Functional Foods Face Tough Regulatory System In Korea, But Healthy Growth Is Forecast

September 22, 2010: 12:23 PM EST

Functional food marketing in Korea is off to a slow start, thanks to a tough regulatory environment. Unlike Japan, where health claims for ingredients have already been examined and approved, and functional foods flourish, Korea is lagging as it carefully scrutinizes individual ingredients in a process that slows arrival of products on grocery shelves. According to a representative of ingredient maker Pharmachem, Korea’s regulatory system has its pluses and minuses. Regulators are very slow and careful about substantiating ingredient health claims. However, once they give the green light, functional ingredients can be used in a wide array of products. Though functional foods currently comprise only 10-20 percent of the market, an expected 20-30 percent annual growth rate will drive Korean food companies to put more functional ingredients into products.

Lorraine Heller, "Korea: 'Stringent' regulations promote functional food potential", NutraIngredients.com, September 22, 2010, © Decision News Media SAS
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