Consumers are increasingly turning to functional foods and drinks to supplement their diets with expenditure up 46.7% to £353m over the past year.

According to the latest figures from TNS Superpanel, 51.5%, or 12.6 million households, have purchased a functional food or drink over the past 12 months (52 w/e December 5 2004), now spending an average of £28 per year.

The biggest impact has been seen within the dairy category, particularly with one-shot dairy drinks where sales, including the likes of Yakult, have shot up by 81% to nearly £200m. Sales of functional spreads, such as Flora Pro-activ, are worth £79m, while functional yogurts, like Danone Activia, stand at £72m.

Functional foods tend to fall within two broad areas - cholesterol-reducing products such as Benecol, and probiotic gut-friendly products such as the number one selling functional brand Danone Actimel.

In fact, Actimel accounts for more than a fifth of the functional market with sales up 71% to £81.7m (The Grocer Top Products Survey, December 11).

See the Focus on Better-For-You Snacks and Drinks in this week's issue of The Grocer for the full story.