Health claims regulation a challenge for nutrition companies

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.

The organisers of Vitafoods Europe surveyed 190 visitors and exhibitors to the event, which takes place between 9-11 May at Palexpo in Geneva. When asked to consider the three biggest challenges facing their company, 43% named stricter regulation, while 35% were concerned about higher prices for raw materials and 27% cited the state of the global economy.

Six in 10 (60%) said health claims was the main area of EU regulation affecting their companies, ahead of trade regulations (14%) and labelling regulations (13%). Almost nine in ten (87%) considered it important that a nutrition ingredient or product is associated with a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved health claim.

A quarter (24%) of respondents considered the current EU regulatory environment to be unhelpful to their companies, although significantly more (37%) 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 expert’s 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% said it would have no impact, 32% said they didn’t know, 22% said it would be either very negative or fairly negative and 10% said it would be either very positive or fairly positive.

Chris Lee, managing director, global health and nutrition network Europe at event organizer Informa Exhibitions, explains, “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.”


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