Allied Bakeries’ new cholesterol lowering bread stands to benefit from increased consumer interest in functional foods. Consumers are becoming more interested in a healthy lifestyle as a result of education and awareness programs. Bread with health benefits is both convenient and actively healthy.

Allied Bakeries’ new soy-based bread, which claims to lower cholesterol, is another example of the potential for profiting from functional foods. Functional foods – foods that offer a specific health benefit – are attracting more and more consumers as health concerns become a mainstream issue.

Over the past five years, the number of functional food consumers in the UK has more than doubled and is forecast to grow by almost 40%, to 4.7 million in 2007. The UK, along with Germany, has the highest spending functional food consumers in Europe, while Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden have the lowest.

The rapid growth in the number of functional food consumers shows that the consumer base is expanding beyond those with specific medical needs (such as lowering cholesterol) to include those who are merely concerned about future health risks, and even those who find that functional foods offer lifestyle benefits.

Functional foods are an increasingly important part of our lifestyle. Consumers are looking to products enhanced with particular ingredients to get them through the day. Driven by increasing levels of mainstream health awareness, concern about modern lifestyles and the desire to look and feel good, consumers are taking increasing interest in the concept of ‘self-medication’. Advice given to consumers about health issues is increasingly focused on diet and lifestyle as well as on medicine. As a result, consumers more readily accept the idea that changes in diet can have significant effects on health. This means that consumers are more likely to choose functional products based on their ability to make long-term changes to the overall quality of life.

By turning a staple food into an active heath product, Allied Bakeries is making it easy for consumers to indulge in wellness, thus offering them the benefits of both health and convenience.

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