Choosing Suitable Food Vehicles for Functional Food Products
Globally, there is a growing demand for functional foods that provide health benefits without changing current dietary habits. However, the world is made up of diverse societies that consist of a wide range of individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds associated with different food choices and preferences. Functional foods resemble traditional foods but have been designed and tailored to confer physiological and health benefits that go beyond their nutritional function. Of the seven-step cycle involved in functional food production, choosing a suitable food vehicle as a carrier of the bioactive components is essential. Therefore, this review explored the importance of food vehicles and how they can influence the acceptance of functional foods. Relevant scientific literature was electronically sourced from Google Scholar, Google, PubMed, databases of the Journals of Functional Foods in Health and Disease (JFFHD) and Bioactive Compounds in Health and Disease (BCHD) based on their mention or discussion of food choice and preference and food vehicles for food fortification or functional food production. These studies revealed that although functional foods are found virtually in all food categories, they are not homogeneously scattered over all segments of the growing market. Consumer demands and acceptance in terms of consumption patterns, ethnicity, culture, religion, and allergy, amongst others, need to be taken into consideration when choosing appropriate vehicles for functional food development.
Keywords: food vehicles, functional foods, food fortification, food choice, food preference, fortification, phytonutrients, bioactive compounds
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