Newly-formed US functional food group Waypharm USA plans to launch products in “several” food categories in the next three years, its CEO has told just-food.

Thilde Peterson outlined the company’s plans as it kicked off a foray into the fledgling functional food market in the US. This autumn, the firm plans to introduce a dairy-based beverage for consumers keen to look after their health.

“The beverage contains whey protein, a dairy product. The beverages are not carbonated and are designed to give an individual the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats,” Peterson said. “This beverage is creating a new niche in the marketplace entitled ‘grab & go’ good nutirition. We don’t know of any products in the marketplace that are part of the grab & go niche.”

The US functional food market is only just developing and lags behind markets in Europe and Japan. However, firms including Yakult, Danone and Kraft Foods have launched a slew of products in recent months in a bid to gain a foothold in the sector.

Peterson insisted demand for healthier products had held up despite the recession and claimed Waypharm could compete with its billion-dollar rivals.

“The demand for health and wellness prodcuts is still very high in the US despite the recession. People want to take prophylactic care of themselves given the crisis in healthcare today. Waypharm was created to find, development and market those products,” Peterson said.

“For us at Waypharm USA, there is a very large market for our products both in the US and around the world. While there are many larger companies in the marketplace, every company had to start at the beginning, some starting point. We are truly committed to producing the best food products in the categories we develop. We believe that people will pay for an excellent product; one that was made specifically for them. You will see us in grocery stores, drugstores, big-box and on the Internet.”