IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Functional Foods In The European Union: An Overview Of The Sector'S Main Issues


  • Alessandra CASTELLINI

    (Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna)

  • Maurizio Canavari

    (Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna)

  • Carlo Pirazzoli

    (Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna)


In Europe the demand of functional foods varies remarkably from country to country, on the basis of the alimentary traditions, the enforced legislation and the different cultural heritage that people have acquired. The opportunities of expansion on the market seem to be quite favorable and the interest of the consumers is rather high. But the diffusion of these products in the community area is slowed down by some obstacles. One of main ones is the lack of an official law-recognized definition for these references, necessary in order to clearly assign these products to the food sector rather than to the pharmaceutical one. In a such situation, we note that nowadays it is impossible to carry out a complete survey of this world, due to the lack of homogeneous and trustworthy statistical data and to the confused definition of the sector. In fact, every country adopts his own national legislation and includes in this class different products. The variable meaning assumed by the term "functional food" in the EU member states, can also hinder the free trade even within the EU boundaries. In fact, pursuing the safeguard of human health, each partner can block the admission of a product, even if it comes from an other EU member country. This lack of clarity at the production phase is reflected in a difficult control at the consumption phase. The disinformation of the trade operators and, consequently, of the consumers can involve some risks for these last ones due to not only to the deficiency of benefits, using functional foods, but also possible damages to the health. Ambiguous definition and gaps of knowledge about the composition and the effects of these products, in fact, can interfere with an aware choice of purchase and an organized development of the sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandra CASTELLINI & Maurizio Canavari & Carlo Pirazzoli, 2005. "Functional Foods In The European Union: An Overview Of The Sector'S Main Issues," Others 0505004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0505004
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 17. Working Paper WP02-12, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy, University of Minnesota, 2002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0505004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.