Friday, November 30, 2012
Category : CLAIMS, INGREDIENTS, INNOVATION | Author : experts
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Regulation (EC) n°1924/2006 has introduced the definition of a Health Claim. In practical terms, all common ways to promote a supplement or health product, even a brand name or pictures, is now considered as a health claim. It took 5 years for EFSA to review all the claims on the market (for 44,000 dossiers submitted) and build the positive list with authorized claims which were validated by the European Commission. They published in May 2012, and it became law on June 14th; a 6 months transition period was granted to be compliant, and so after December 14th, authorities of EU member states will be able to declare all non-compliant products as illegal.

The next steps are easy to guess: there are 2 options.

Option 1: if you want to use claims, make sure that the ingredients in your formula are on the regulation 432/2012 (positive list) to provide the health benefits you want to promote.

Option 2: just take Health Claim out of your labels and communication tools (website included), and rely on consumers’ knowledge about ingredient functionality.

Indeed, strong criteria were applied to evaluate the science behind messages, except on very basic substances (vitamins & minerals). As a result, only 222 claims have been approved & included into the positive list. And most of them are trivial wordings. The immediate impact on store shelves: all products will be promoted with the same claims, based on the same ingredients.

Standing out of the competition is going to take a lot more creativity. Of course, you may still work on the brand, the product, or on the distribution strategy. But to get real consumer loyalty, you have to bring them innovation, with truly perceptible health improvement.

That’s the direction the market seems to take, after a few months of “wait and see”. The best way to get ahead of the competition is obviously to move first. Companies should push this development toward getting EFSA approvals, fulfilling criteria of the scientific panel, to continue bringing innovative healthy products to Europe’s 500 million potential consumers.

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