Canadian Functional Foods and Natural Health Products

Better Eating for Better Health

Consumers around the world are becoming acutely aware that what they eat can profoundly influence their health. With increased awareness about the relationship between diet and disease, more and more people are looking for ways to improve their health through dietary means.

While some consumers are modifying their eating habits and paying closer attention to the quality of what they eat, others are looking beyond basic nutritional benefits to disease-prevention and health-enhancing compounds contained in plants, animals, marine sources and micro-organisms. Functional foods and natural health products made from these sources are being used to enhance health and general well-being, and increase energy levels.

Canada produces a wide range of functional foods and natural health products that rank among the world's best in terms of quality, nutrition, taste and scientific research. They encompass not only conventional foods that provide benefits above and beyond basic nutrition, but also products that have been enhanced or fortified with beneficial substances such as vitamins, minerals, micro-organisms and other bioactive compounds derived from plant, animal and marine sources. Many of these foods and natural health products contain ingredients that are the result of developments in plant breeding, extraction technologies and animal nutrition, such as high-lutein wheat, oat or barley beta-glucans and omega-3 eggs.

People often eat functional foods as part of their regular diet, but can also supplement their everyday nutrition with natural health products such as gamma-linolenic acid from borage oil, antioxidants from blueberries and essential fatty acids from fish oil. Whether it's yogourt fortified with probiotics or fruit juice with added calcium or omega-3 fatty acids, consumers can trust the excellence of Canadian functional foods and natural health products.

Quality, safety and innovation

Canada is fortunate in its abundance of rich farmland and clean water, which means that Canadian crops, livestock and marine products come from fresh, healthy environments. Canada also has stringent standards for foods, natural health products and pharmaceuticals. Our researchers have developed precise methods for standardizing and verifying the potency and bioactivity of ingredients in functional foods and natural health products. Consumer safety is a crucial concern: regulation of natural health products is governed by the Natural Health Products Directorate of Health Canada, while food safety is enforced through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, both government organizations.

This Canadian industry is also using innovation and advanced technologies, in product development and manufacturing, such as extracting bioactive compounds from sources as diverse as micro-organisms and fruits. In addition, federal research scientists from the National Research Council and from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are working with universities, governments and the private sector to improve the nutritional qualities of Canada's plant and animal products.

Experience the Canadian difference

Canada's functional foods and natural health products sector is a growing, active, research-oriented industry that uses high-quality ingredients to produce superior products for both the domestic and export markets. For further information, please visit:

Government websites

Industry website