Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) of NSTDA and Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) jointly organized a seminar on “Food, Gene and Health: Opportunity and Challenge” on 22 February 2019.  Both parties also took this opportunity to launch a new project on “Research,

Development and Clinical Study on Functional Food”. The new project aims to provide support to Thai industry in research and development of functional food products for the elderly, as well as clinical study of these food products to ensure their safety and efficacy. Not only will the project boost the creation of food truly designed to the needs of the elderly, it will also enhance the competitiveness of Thai food industry.

ITAP has provided assistance to a wide range of industries. In the food industry, various approaches have been employed in order to create value to raw materials – ranging from product diversification, to innovative processes and extended shelf-life. All projects were conducted by experts in food science and technology as well as food product development drawing from universities across the country. One particular project to develop health food for aging society, started in 2016, has resulted in a number of commercial-ready products such as food gel for senior citizens usually developing dysphagia, semi-solid soup for consumption in between meals, medium-GI drink made from sweet potato and grains and egg white protein drink powder.

This “Research, Development and Clinical Study on Functional Food” project will lead enterprises from developing functional food products to performing clinical study in order to prepare for registration with the Thai Food and Drug Administration.  The project will target food ingredient and food industries, and bring in experts in various fields, including nutrition, food science, product development, clinical trial, marketing and registration. Activities such as nutrition workshop and overseas study tour will be employed in order to develop an active network and collaboration in functional food. This initiative is expected to advance Thai food industry from producing general food products to higher-value functional food products.