Creating Functional Food Products for Retail Sale

How to Create a Successful Food Product in 2022

If you’re considering making a career out of creating and selling food products to consumers in any capacity, how do you know where to start?  You might be surprised to find out that anywhere from 70-90% of food retail products fail in the introduction-to-market phase.

According to Inez Blackburn, a professor at the University of Toronto, “The failure rate for new product introduction in the retail grocery industry is 70-80 percent. For smaller U.S. food businesses launching new products, the success rate was 11.6 percent.” 

No we aren’t trying to scare you away. But we are imploring you to think critically. What type of food product can you create in the 2022 landscape that can improve your odds and nearly guarantee you a place amongst the 11.6% of the products that succeed? Well we have a few suggestions to help you go in that direction. Have you heard of functional food products? You’re about to.

Focus on Function

In the last few years, products that can encourage the improvement of health or increase the performance of the body have been making an absolute splash with consumers around the globe. So much so that foods that cause this type of positive reaction have been given their very own term: “functional foods”.

What is a Functional Food? 

Functional foods, also known as superfoods, have their beginning way before recent food trends. In fact it was Hippocrates, also known as the “father of medicine”,  who can be credited with the famous quote  “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food,”  approximately 2500 years ago. A white paper published by Colorado State University, gives some great example to summarize the working definition of functional foods:

  • The term functional foods is used to describe foods or food ingredients that provide health benefits beyond meeting basic nutrition needs.
  • Inclusion of these types of foods can provide further protection against chronic disease and condition development.
  • Different compounds most often work together synergistically to alter one or more physiological process in the body, so including a variety of foods is best.
  • “Superfood” and “miracle food” are marketing terms and advertising foods as such can lead to unrealistic expectations.
  • Consuming plenty of plant foods and choosing variety among foods can help increase intake of functional foods and the positive effects they may
    have on the body.

Harnessing the capabilities of these superfoods is a sure-fire way to improve the success potential of your food product, especially in our post-pandemic society.

Making a Come-back after COVID

We can all probably agree that the entire world is looking for a way to improve the current state of their health, especially in regards to the immune system. It was almost as if the second we had a moment to take a breath, this virus was morphing into the teenage mutant ninja turtles of epidemics. We would all be hard-pressed to argue with the notion that every single one of us haven’t picked up a product promising some kind of health-boosting or antibacterial properties.

On that same token, creating products that provide these benefits can potentially give you, the budding food manufacturer, a budding start in improving your success rate from the very inception of your product’s concept. So, now that you have a general idea of what functional foods are, how do you get started?

Creating a Functional Food Product

To keep it sweet and simple, functional foods have their foundations in vitamins, minerals and various herbs. Maybe that sounds complicated to you, maybe a little boring even. But truth be told, there are 2 avenues you can go down to accomplish the creation of your first functional food product. You can either fortify your product recipe with these types of ingredients or you can re-configure an existing functional food and make it your own. 


Hang in there with us for a second. this is where things get good. Who doesn’t love experimenting in the kitchen. According to The Food Industry Executive, here is a short list of foods that consumers themselves have identified as being functional: 

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids/DHA
  2. Green tea
  3. Honey
  4. Coffee
  5. Probiotics
  6. Apple cider vinegar
  7. Oats
  8. Garlic
  9. Grapefruit
  10. Dark chocolate
  11. Ginger
  12. Ginseng
  13. Melatonin
  14. Avocado oil
  15. Chamomile
  16. Spinach
  17. Ginkgo biloba
  18. Coconut oil
  19. Lavender
  20. Blueberries

At first glance, you can easily see that these ingredients are nothing that you haven’t seen before. So, earlier in the article when we mentioned the 2 ways to go about creating a functional food product, this is what was meant by “re-creating an existing functional functional food to make it your own”.

For example, if we were to utilize the following numbers, you could quickly and easily create a shelf-stable breakfast dish that was high in fiber and whole grains, that contained benefits for immune system improvement, eye health and overall mood enhancement. WHOA. But how? Well, let’s take a look:

Blueberry Lavender Muffin Overnight Oat Mix

3/4 C Whole grain Oats (#1) – whole grain oats are excellent for heart health and high in dietary fiber which supports digestion and overall immune health. They are also whole grain, low in fat and supportive of a healthy weight (and this is only covering a small amount of the overall benefits).

2 tbsp dried wild blueberries (#20)- blueberries are high in antioxidants C + K, so high in fact, that they outshine any other commonly-known fruit. Blueberries protect against and repair cell and DNA damage as well as contain cancer fighting properties. Click the link for the full list, way too much to add here, but you get the jist)

2 tsp Lavender (#19) -Lavender is known for it’s relaxation properties, but can help with improving hair quality and can even reduce the negative side effects of chemotherapy

1 tsp Flaxseed, aka Omega 3’s (#1) – Flaxseed is a well-known source of omega 3’s. And Omega 3’s are like a SUPER- superfood. Not only can Omega 3’s improve your heart health and lubricate joints but can alleviate symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) amongst a host of other benefits.

Once you’ve put the functional ingredients together into a recipe that tastes delicious, now it must just be marketed properly. While a Blueberry Lavender Muffin  Overnight oats might sound tasty (and it is) consumers won’t necessarily gather that it is also a functional food until you point it out. This is where marketing comes in. Highlighting the functional properties of your delectable dish informs the purchaser that you have created something that an benefit their health in monumental ways. This will help you pull ahead of your competition in food retail and shine a bit brighter than the other products on the shelf. And with this combo, we’re positive you’ll make your home safely in that 11.6%, wouldn’t you agree?


For more insight into creating functional food products and other food product related news, subscribe to our weekly blog! To get started on your nutrition label for your food product, contact us! We are here for you!


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