Functional Foods and Natural Health Products - Canadian Industry

Consumers are increasingly interested in the health benefits of foods and have begun to look beyond the basic nutritional benefits to the potential disease prevention and health enhancing compounds contained in many foods. This interest combined with a more widespread understanding of how diet affects disease, rising health-care costs and an aging population are driving a growing and robust market for functional foods and natural health products.

Functional foods and natural health products provide an opportunity to improve the health of Canadians, reduce health care costs and support economic development in rural communities. They also offer a way for some producers to diversify their agriculture and marine-based crops. The growth of the global market for functional foods and natural health products is outpacing that of the traditional processed food market.

Canada has emerged as a leading world supplier in this growing market. The country boasts more than 300 companies - from small start-ups to multinational enterprises. Many are internationally recognized for their bioactive ingredients, such as soluble fibre from oats, barley and pulses; omega-3 fatty acids from fish and flax oil; unsaturated fatty acids from canola oil; plant sterols and stanols from vegetable oils; and protein from soy. Industry is also interested in incorporating into food products functional ingredients, such as probiotic bacterial cultures; prebiotics (e.g. fructo-oligosaccharides) from corn; bioactives concentrated from berries and flax; and novel fibres from pulses. Key success factors include Canada's world-class research into the health benefits of foods and bioactives, occuring at universities, government research labs and institutes, as well as innovations in ingredients, technologies, packaging and formulations occuring at food technology centres and contract manufacturing firms.

Regulating the industry is important to maintain the high standard of food safety and quality that Canadians expect, while allowing the industry to innovate and market new products. Learn more about navigating the regulations for functional foods.

The following information will make it easier for the functional food and natural health product industry to explore market, partnership and research opportunities. Although this website is created as a tool for industry, it also contains information that will help the general public better understand the sector.


Contact Information

You can contact Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (FFN) by mail or e-mail:

Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Tower 5, 2nd floor
1341 Baseline road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C5