Cereals, yoghurts and yoghurt drinks, as well as margarines and spreads accounted for around 87 per cent of the market's value over the 12-month period ending October 2003, according to the KeyNote report.
And while advertising expenditure fell significantly in 2002, after peaking in 2001, a high proportion of the ad spend is in support of the functional variants of margarines and spreads, and to a lesser extent yoghurts, in comparison with the total expenditure within these segments.
This may be a result of significant investment in educating consumers on the benefits of plant sterols, the ingredient responsible for cholesterol-lowering margarines. Consumer awareness remains low, partly as a result of the legislative restrictions on sterols.
Probiotics too have been the subject of significant education campaigns, designed to teach the concept of 'good bacteria'.
Overall the market grew by 10.8 per cent in value terms for the 12-month period ending October 2003, after a substantial 24.7 per cent growth in the previous year to October 2002, according to KeyNote.
Although growth in the functional foods market declined considerably for the year to October 2003, it was still well above that of equivalent traditional products.
Growth is predicted to continue in the medium term at a higher level than that of traditional products, owing to continued consumer interest in, and government support for, healthy eating and living; an ageing population profile which will benefit from such foods; and the recognised evolution towards functionality in foods.