The growing importance of functional foods can be attributed to the changing trends in consumer diets towards healthier foods, such as soy-based products, low-fat meals and vitamin-enriched energy bars. The growing proportion of ageing populations - which leads to rising healthcare costs, obesity problems and an increasing awareness of healthier lifestyles - is the prime reason driving this change. This month's briefing profiles the major players in the global functional foods market, including Nestlé SA, Dean Foods and Tiger Brands Ltd. We also outline industry issues and concerns, rank the top 30 companies based on sales and look to the future of the industry.