Health claims regulation is top challenge for nutrition companies, survey shows

Nutrition companies view stricter EU regulation as a greater challenge than the state of the global economy, new research has shown. Meanwhile, Brexit is not widely expected to have a major impact on the European nutrition industry.

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Organisers of Vitafoods Europe surveyed 190 visitors and exhibitors at the event last year. When asked to consider the three biggest challenges facing their company, 43 per cent named stricter regulation, while 35 per cent were concerned about higher prices for raw materials and 27 per cent cited the state of the global economy.

Six in ten (60 per cent) said health claims was the main area of EU regulation affecting their companies, ahead of trade regulations (14 per cent) and labelling regulations (13 per cent). Almost nine in ten (87 per cent) considered it important that a nutrition ingredient or product is associated with an EFSA-approved health claim.

A quarter (24 per cent) of respondents considered the current EU regulatory environment to be unhelpful to their companies, although significantly more (37 per cent) considered it helpful.

The findings come as the organisers of Vitafoods Europe announce a new resource to help companies navigate the regulatory maze. Visitors with any questions about regulation or certification will be able to have a one-to-one consultation with experts in the new Advice Centre.

Meanwhile, the UK’s decision to leave the EU did not rank highly as a concern for respondents. When asked what impact they thought Brexit would have on the European nutrition industry, 36 per cent said it would have no impact, 32 per cent said they didn’t know, 22 per cent said it would be either very negative or fairly negative; and 10 per cent said it would be either very positive or fairly positive.

Chris Lee, managing director, Global Health and Nutrition Network, Europe, Informa Exhibitions says: ‘Effective regulation is essential for consumer confidence and the industry understands its importance. However, it can create major headaches, especially for smaller companies. The process for establishing a health claim in particular can be frustrating, and it says a lot that companies view the prospect of tougher regulation as a greater challenge than the state of the world economy. Fortunately, Vitafoods Europe provides a range of services to support and advise companies as they navigate their way around the regulatory maze.’

In addition to the new Advice Centre, Vitafoods Centre Stage will host a keynote panel discussion about the impact of EU regulation on innovation in the ingredient sector. Speakers will include Maryse Hervé, secretary-general of the Federation of European Specialty Food Ingredients Industries and Beate Kettlitz, director of Food Policy, Science and R&D at FoodDrinkEurope.

Furthermore, the Vitafoods Education Programme will include a Business Workshop on Ingredient Registration and Regulation.  Experts including Patrick Coppens, regional director, Europe & MEA, EAS Strategies, Belgium, will deal with questions such as how to bring new ingredients to the EU market.