Functional Food is intended to become the next billion dollar business of our turnover and profit-seeking (food) industry. Even as early as now, the investors rejoice when hearing about the nice prospects. Even if a “Spiegel” article somewhat dampens the enthusiasm, it is a great outlook for our economy which is distinctly oriented towards “shareholder value” in a rather one-sided way. Nestlé, for instance, managed to climb among the top 10 world-wide (criterion: capitalization value): at the end of 2010, it was listed as number nine (here is the top-ten list of enterprises world-wide).
For the consumers, functional food promises real miracles. The life expectation is supposed to climb to more than a hundred years, even without any unpleasant side-effects such as dementia or the like. We will eat as much as we wish to and yet remain slim without effort or fitness programs. And almost all illnesses can be defeated with functional food.
In a way, this is a rather questionable, perhaps unrealistic and in the end terrible concept.
Personally, I am fed up with these kinds of promises and simply wish we could eat reasonably again. The sort of food my father produced in his allotment garden near the river Wertach. A tomato that tastes like a tomato.
I would favour a multitude of products and tastes and no restriction to only those brands that are particularly profitable and resistant against chemical substances or vermin. All in all, this kind of differentiated range of food products would probably be healthier both for humans and nature than genetically forced plants and animals. So here is my advice: please do not grow mono cultures, but an intelligent mixture of crops.
Moreover, I would wish to see food products again being produced at least with a little creation awareness. Along with producing them, the farming industry should also strive towards preserving them.
I expect the exact opposite will happen with the functional food concept. It will lead towards even more reduction and confectioning of our food supply. The production will become even more industrial.
Incidentally, the only existing and currently available and functioning item of functional food is mother’s milk. You can read a nice article in the SZ on it: Mamas Wundercocktail.
But there were times when even nursing your baby was said to be unhygienic and un-chic. I witnessed it myself after our first daughter was born (in 1980). All kinds of people advised us not to nurse her. Barbara nursed her regardless, to the annoyance of both grandmothers.
And, of course, during the decades following WW-II, exactly those concerns that now want to create gigantic markets with functional food were the ones that discouraged mothers from nursing their babies. And, using their infamous marketing, they will success – just like they succeed in selling unhealthy food to adolescents.
(Translated by EG)