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Future of functional food – panel discussion

Webinar-Future of functional food – panel discussion

Date: Wednesday, 7 April | Time: 11:00-12:00 (BST) | Duration: 1 hour


Once the domain of a small group of health-conscious consumers, functional food has risen in popularity over recent years. Across categories from immune health to sports nutrition, consumers are increasingly choosing products for the additional functions they can offer to help them live healthier lives and target areas of concern. However, the food and nutraceutical sector has faced multiple setbacks relating to the regulation of marketing functional foods, whilst consumers can be sceptical about the health claims of these products. Meanwhile, although some health categories are showing strong market launches, others struggle with innovative delivery formats. This panel discussion will explore both the challenges of entering this category, as well as the promising opportunities and whitespace within functional food. 

Key takeaways 

  • Receive a definition of functional food from a brand, consumer and regulatory perspective 
  • Learn about the rising popularity of functional food and how consumer interaction with this product group has developed over recent years 
  • Dig deep into label claim issues and the struggle of regulating functional food—and learn how brands can counter these difficulties 
  • Discover the whitespace in functional food—what health categories are showing strong market launches whilst others are challenged with innovating delivery? 

Register to tune into the live panel discussion hosting Sam Jennings, Director at Berry Ottaway & Associates, Anna Szymanowska, founder at Fighter Shots, and Sophie Medlin, consultant dietitian at CityDietitians.




Sam Jennings BSc, FIFST  
Director, Berry Ottaway & Associates Ltd

For the past 20 years, Jennings has been providing advice to industry and governments globally on scientific, technical and regulatory aspects of food through her role with Berry Ottaway & Associates Ltd. She was appointed as technical adviser to the Council for Responsible Nutrition UK (CRN UK) in 2006. Additionally, Jennings is chair of the UK Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards Business Expert (Food Standards & Labelling) Group, a fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) in the UK, and chair of the IFST Food Regulatory Steering Group. She is also a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, USA and of the Society of Dairy Technology, UK. Sam has been a member of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) international Technical Working Group since its conception in 2010, and was chair of this group from 2012 to 2017.  


Anna Szymanowska 
Founder, Fighter Shots 

Szymanowska holds an MBA from London Business School and MSc in Industrial Engineering and Renewable Energy. Her work at Airbus, Microsoft and as a management consultant fostered strong product development and sales skills. After seeing her colleagues drink ginger shots in Switzerland, Szymanowska decided to create her own recipes. Fighter Shots, a brand offering a range of all-natural health shots targeting immunity, fatigue, and overall wellbeing, currently retail in the UK and the UAE. Szymanowska is excited by the evolving relevance of health products and how her shots can positively and sustainably impact people’s lives. 


Sophie Medlin 
Consultant dietitian, CityDietitians 

Medlin is a well-recognised consultant dietitian and is the chair for the British Dietetic Association for London. She has expertise in gastrointestinal and colorectal health, and has worked in acute hospitals specialising in gastrointestinal diseases before moving into academia, where she worked as a lecturer at King’s College London. Medlin is a go-to spokesperson for media when it comes to evidence-based nutrition, regularly featuring in print, broadcast and social media. She has specialist knowledge and skills in the management of medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal dysfunction, diverticular disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Additionally, Medlin works as a consultant in product development for the manufacture of vitamins and probiotics and enjoys applying her academic research skills in the commercial sector.