The state of the global functional food ingredient market

Buoyed by continued growth, opportunities are abundant for those operating within the bourgeoning sector

By Sean Tarry

The Global Functional Food Ingredients Market Report 2022 was released this past spring, revealing expectations around continued growth of the market that industry observers are anticipating will reach $118.4 billion by 2026.

It’s impressive growth for the still burgeoning sector—growth that will be reflected by a compounded annual growth rate of 7.6% over the reports analysis period. And, when it comes to the functional food ingredient phenomenon, the report suggests that the primary driver of the groundswell of popularity is today’s increasingly health-conscious and wellness-inspired global consumer.

Increased appetite
Findings within the report suggest that enhanced awareness concerning the benefits of safe fortified foods and how they can help contribute toward an enjoyable life have lent to an increased appetite for the sector’s wares among the general public. In turn, a greater understanding of the ways in which functional food ingredients can help to prevent the onset of a number of different chronic diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes has been developed, enhancing the standing of the sector further.

The report goes on to suggest that there are a multitude of other factors that are helping to drive increased adoption and use of functional food ingredients and the subsequent growth of the sector. They include:

  • Growing numbers of gym-goers and fitness centres
  • Changes in the regulations for the food and beverage sector in countries and regions around the world
  • Increasing consumer demand for wholesome and clean-label food and beverage products with high nutritional content
  • Product innovations, developments, new investments, and new product launches by many companies are piquing interest among consumers
  • Growing focus on healthy lifestyles amidst the ongoing pandemic drives focus toward functional foods, driving demand for ingredients
  • Focus grows concerning natural foods and clean label
  • Consumers’ focus on less processed foods drives market prospects
  • Increasing prevalence of chronic and lifestyle diseases enhances consumer spending on functional foods and boosts demand for ingredients
  • Growing prominence of functional foods and drinks in weight management facilitates market demand
  • Increased plant-centric demand and availability of plants in convenient formats
  • Increased use of plant milk for digestive wellness
  • Increased awareness around the use of prebiotics as an important ingredient promoting gut health, brain health, and immunity
  • Exploration of the potential role of prebiotics and probiotics in the prevention and treatment of Coronavirus infections
  • Trend towards higher fiber consumption drives demand for prebiotic fibers
  • Antioxidants gain importance in functional beverages
  • The entry of soy-based functional ingredients into the mainstream
  • Growing use of carotenoids in functional foods and beverages
  • Emergence of omega-3 as a popular heart-healthy ingredient

Rise in demand of protein-fortified products

  • Emergence of rice protein as a functional ingredient
  • Emergence of dietary fat as a new ingredient for functional food and drinks
  • Increased demand for functional ingredients in snack foods
  • Rising consumer interest in fruit-based functional ingredients
  • Rising demand for natural ingredients in functional foods
  • Wide-ranging benefits related to endurance, cardiovascular, and bone health drives robust demand for protein-based products
  • Increased interest in mood enhancers
  • Increased innovation driving market expansion
  • Millennials’ focus on health and wellness

Market analysis
The report identifies the United States as the largest market posing the greatest potential growth for the functional food ingredient sector, which is currently estimated at USD$25.6 billion in 2021, accounting for a 30.93% share of the global market.

Trailing the United States in terms of market share and growth potential is the world’s second largest economy, China, which is anticipated to reach an estimated USD$14.1 billion by 2026 with a compounded annual growth rate of 10.5%, followed by Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 6.2% and 6.6%, respectively.

Germany is the leading European nation when it comes to growth potential for the functional food ingredient market, which is forecast to grow at approximate compounded annual growth rate of 5.7%. The remainder of the EU is expected to reach a cumulative US $15.4 billion by 2026.

Here at home
The Canadian market is also highlighted within the report, identifying the unique drivers influencing the growth of the sector within the country. It reveals that an increased focus on health and wellness and concerns related to complications including diabetes, obesity, and digestive disorders are the factors bearing the most significant impacts. It also identifies Canada as a key supplier of functional ingredients and foods, positioning it well for further growth beyond the report’s analysis period.

To access the full version of the Global Functional Food Ingredients Market Report 2022, visit

Check Also

A New Era of Food Production and Nutrition

As demand for resource-intensive food production continues to rise in a time when resources are …