Research at the Functional Foods Forum

Functional Foods Forum (FFF) is a research unit in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku and combines the best knowledge and expertise of different disciplines. By conducting scientific research on carefully selected food components, we aim to develop healthy and safe food products for the future.

Following our operating principle, we build networks between Finnish and foreign scientists and research groups and, hence, create new international opportunities for innovative research activities.

The core competencies of our research are individual food experiences and how they connect to health and well-being as part of the society.

Our research facilities include different types of laboratories: an ISO standardized sensory lab, two multisensory labs, Flavoria® Research Platform, Flavoria cohort, and a microbe lab.

Our fields of research comprehend:

  • nutrition and nutritional education research
  • research of the microbes promoting gut health, including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and postbiotics research
  • sensory research
  • consumer research
  • legislation of functional foods
  • connection between research, gastronomy and art

Disciplines that complement our core competencies:

  • sensory research
  • microbiology / probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and postbiotics
  • nutrition and health
  • food products and their functionality
  • human sciences, communication, and art
  • technology development

Research Groups

Probiotics Research Group

Professor Seppo Salminen, leads the Probiotics Research Group.

The research is based on co-operation with the children’s clinic and focuses on supporting the microbiota for healthy maturation.

Seppo Salminen's contact information

Taste and Health Research Group

Food Development Professor Anu Hopia leads the Taste and Health Research Group.

Central topics are, among others, the research of health promoting, multisensory eating environments and healthy & tasty food products following the principles of sustainable development.

Anu Hopia's contact information

Senses and Food Research Group

Professor Mari Sandell, who represents both the University of Turku and Helsinki, leads the Senses and Food Research Group.

The study focuses are the individual differences in sensory perception, its connection to human health, multisensory experiencing of food and eating behavior.

Mari Sandell's contact information in the University of Turku and in the University of Helsinki

Early Nutrition and health

Early Nutrion and healt, apulaisprofessori Kirsi Laitinen, the Director of FFF

The goal of the research group is to provide a scientific basis for the relationship between diet and health, including mechanistic studies, focusing on the effects of maternal nutrition, metabolism and gut microbiome on both maternal and child health. We consider it of importance to evaluate the interactions between diet, metabolism and microbiome in defining clinical health outcomes, including body composition and behavioural factors, as part of a holistic approach.​

We have several on-going studies in mothers and children, including long-term follow-up studies. We also develop and test methods for dietary intake assessment in different groups of individuals. Alongside academic research, we are open for industrially driven research and development projects.

Recent publications

Fermented foods: a perspective on their role in delivering biotics (2023)

Frontiers in Microbiology
Vinderola Gabriel, Cotter Paul D., Freitas Miguel, Gueimonde Miguel, Holscher Hannah D., Ruas-Madiedo Patricia, Salminen Seppo, Swanson Kelly S., Sanders Mary Ellen, Cifelli Christopher J.
(Refereed journal article or data article (A1))