The National Innovation Agency (NIA) is preparing to promote food trends in the second half of this year with a major forum, exhibition and conference entitled "InnoAsia 2009: Food in the Future."
The main theme for the event, which will be held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre in December, is "Food is the First Medicine."
NIA project manager Sura-at Supachatturat said the event was aimed at consumers wishing to seek out more convenient, better-tasting and more effective foods and beverages, in the belief that health was going to remain a powerful influence on consumers’ food choices.
"The worldwide demand for functional food continues to be a dynamic and growing segment of the food industry, with rapid growth set to continue for several years," he said.
Sura-at said Thailand was one of Asia’s pioneering food producers, supporting the industry’s involvement in the promotion of good health through proper nutrition, and the forum would provide a window on new product development. Using innovation to find sustainable competitive advantages in functional food applications is a new challenge to this country’s food companies, he said.
Thailand also has many herbs and natural resources, together with favourable national policies and investment incentives, so it has enormous potential to serve as a regional hub for nutraceutical and functional food production.
The InnovAsia 2009 forum will include conferences and exhibitions covering four aspects of food production: functional foods and beverages, medicinal foods, organic foods and novel foods.
Functional foods and beverages are those dietary components that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These allow consumers to take greater control of their health by selecting foods that are known to provide specific health benefits. They include fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fortified or enhanced foods and beverages, and some dietary supplements.
Medical foods are special dietary items intended for use solely under medical supervision to meet nutritional requirements in specific medical conditions.
Organic foods are produced according to certain standards, principally without the use of conventional pesticides and artificial fertilisers, freedom from contamination by human or industrial wastes, and processing without ionizing radiation or food additives.
Finally, novel foods are those that have not previously been used for human consumption to any significant degree, or have been subjected to processes that result in a significant change in their composition, nutritional value, or intended use.