AusFoodTech - Fast Facts
What is AusFoodtech?
Launched by AusBiotech at the AusBiotech National Conference in 2009, AusFoodtech is a program directed at serving organisations and individuals with interests in functional foods and nutraceuticals.
AusBiotech’s interest in the functional food and nutraceuticals sector began in 2008 during the winding down of the National Centre of Excellence in Functional Foods (NCEFF). AusFoodtech seeks to continue the work carried out by the NCEFF to build industry-research links and encourage pre-competitive research in Australia.
AusBiotech acknowledges the support of the following organisations that took a lead in assisting with the development of AusFoodtech:
George Weston Technologies
University of Wollongong
Murray Goulburn Nutritionals
Objectives of AusFoodtech:
To provide a voice for organisations and individuals engaged in precompetitive research within the Australian functional food and nutraceuticals sector. This will be achieved by representing the views and interests of our member organisations at the political level to increase funding and support of innovative research, including clinical trials, within the sector.
To deliver valuable networking and professional development opportunities.
To facilitate awareness of issues surrounding the development and protection of Intellectual Property for smaller, less established companies.
What are functional foods and nutraceuticals?
Food and dietary components that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition are commonly referred to as ‘functional foods’. An Invest Australia report entitled “Australian Functional Food” (2004) provides the following definition:
“Functional foods are considered to be any food or food component that may provide demonstrated physiological benefits or reduce the risk of chronic diseases, above and beyond basic nutritional functions”.
Invest Australia “Australian Functional Food”, 2004
Nutraceuticals are regarded as a subset of functional foods. Scientific American (2008) defines nutraceuticals as:
“Bioactive chemicals derived from foods but taken as supplements at much higher concentrations than diet alone could provide”.
Scientific American Special Edition “Getting to Know Nutraceuticals”, January 3, 2008.
Examples of Common Functional Ingredients
|Beta-carotene||Neutralises free radicals; can be made into Vitamin A in the body|
|Lutein, Zeaxanthin||May contribute to maintenance of healthy vision|
|Lycopene||May contribute to maintenance of prostate health|
|Insoluble fibre||May contribute to maintenance of a healthy digestive tract; may reduce the risk of some types of cancer|
|Beta glucan||May reduce risk of coronary heart disease|
|Soluble fibre||May reduce risk of coronary heart disease and some types of cancer|
|Whole grains||May reduce risk of coronary heart disease and some types of cancer; may contribute to healthy blood glucose levels|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)||May reduce risk of coronary heart disease|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)Omega-3 fatty acids-ALA||May contribute to maintenance of heart health; may contribute to maintenance of mental and visual function|
|PUFAs - Omega-3 fatty acids-DHA/EPA||May reduce risk of coronary heart disease; may contribute to maintenance of mental and visual function|
|Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)||May contribute to maintenance of desirable body composition and healthy immune function|
|Probiotics - Yeast, Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and other specific strains of bacteria||May improve gastrointestinal health and systemic immunity; benefits are strain specific|
|Soy Protein||May reduce risk of coronary heart disease|
|Isoflavones||May contribute to maintenance of bone health, healthy brain and immune function; for women, may contribute to maintenance of menopausal health|
|Lignans||May contribute to maintenance of heart health and healthy immune function.|