Future trends

It is clear that the developing world will adopt whatever approach is technically feasible for them to meet the food and nutritional needs of their populations. Genetically modified crops will be used if there are clear benefits. In terms of resistance to disease and adaptation to harsh environments the technology has clear potential. Improvements in nutritional quality can be added to the list of benefits.

In Europe and other developed countries the impetus for improving the nutritional value of foods will occur only if there are clear health benefits in doing so. As there is growing evidence that nutritional needs will vary according to age and genetic susceptibility, it will be hard to convey a consistent message since intakes that benefit one sector of society might not benefit another. The priority is to demonstrate clearly what are the functional effects of nutrients, or beneficial phytochemicals, at the physiological level. The information is generally rudimentary. In those cases where the function is clearer the relationships between dose and effect are not known. When it comes to marketing foods that have been genetically manipulated the benefits will have to be very great indeed if current consumer resistance to their use is to be overcome.

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