Luc Claessens, founding chairman of the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance, died of cancer July 12 at the age of 50.
Also a founding member of the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations and an 11-year employee of Capsugel, Claessens was a strong proponent of the global natural products community. His goal was to bring the industry closer together by enlarging the network of worldwide associations. Claessens strove to stimulate and support initiatives that would help naturals manufacturers, retailers and consumers in Europe and throughout the world, and would secure the long-term health of the natural products industry.
Claessens' co-workers remember him as an exceptionally warm and generous person, who was trusted and highly professional.
"It's a terrible loss," said IADSA Executive Director Simon Pettman. "So few people have any long-term vision in this industry. Luc had vision. His work in Eastern Europe was of particular importance. He achieved a great deal in forming industry groups to represent central and Eastern European companies and to link these into other European groups and IADSA. This activity was unique and of huge value in ensuring the products continue to be sold in these countries."
Capsugel Division President Guido Driesen echoed the sentiment. "His business contributions have helped us get where we are today, especially when it comes to creating strong alliances with customers and stakeholders in our industry," he said.
Claessens is survived by his wife, Katrien, and their 13-year-old son, Ben.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 9/p. 14