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Functional Food and Organic Food are Competing Rather than Supporting Concepts in Europe

Author(s): Johannes Kahl | Aneta Załęcka | Angelika Ploeger | Susanne Bügel | Machteld Huber

Journal: Agriculture (Basel)
ISSN 2077-0472

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 316;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: organic | functional | food | consumer | quality | concept

A review of recent literature pertaining to organic and functional food was conducted according its conceptual background. Functional and organic food both belong to fast growing segments of the European food market. Both are food according to the European food regulations, but organic food is further regulated by the European regulation for organic agriculture and food production. This regulation restricts the number of food additives and limits substantial changes in the food. This may cause problems in changing the food based on single constituents or attributes when applying the concept of functional food to organic food production. Claims of the influence of the food positively on health can only be accepted as true when the claims have been tested and then validated by the EU-Commission. Whereas functional food focuses on product comparison based on specific constituents or attributes, organic food as a whole has no placebo for comparison and effects on environment and society are not part of the health claim regulation. Therefore it seems rather difficult to establish the health claims of organic foods. Consumers buy organic food out of an emotional attitude and associate the food with naturalness. In contrast, the decision for buying functional food is related to rationality and consumers associate functional food with a more technological approach. For this reason, the authors conclude that the concept of functional food seems not to support organic food production in Europe.
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