Functional beverages have gained increasing market share over the last decade. As the Asia Pacific region is one of the largest and most important markets for functional foods, it is critical when developing and promoting new products that food manufacturers/marketers have a good understanding of the Asia Pacific market, including the legislative requirements and consumers’ perceptions of functional beverages. A literature review was undertaken to elucidate legislation criteria and consumers’ perceptions of functional beverages in Asia Pacific countries. Topics reviewed included the origin and definitions of functional foods and beverages; the legislative criteria for functional foods and beverages in four representative countries—Australia, New Zealand, China, and Japan; and consumers’ perceptions of functional beverages. There was no concrete definition of “functional food” or “functional beverage” region-wide and correspondingly, the legislative terms and regulatory frameworks for functional foods and beverages varied from country to country and showed divergence due to cultural differences. The systematic review of consumer perceptions of functional beverages showed that product acceptance and purchase intention for different functional beverages was heterogeneous among consumers in the Asian Pacific Region, with many factors playing a role including product attributes (e.g., functional attributes, sensory attributes, and product form) and consumer perceptions (e.g., health motivation, trust in food industry, and food neophobia). The findings from this review will help guide product development and inform marketing strategies for functional beverages targeting the Asia Pacific region by providing information on legislation and consumers’ perceptions.
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