2012 will see advertising messages across the functional food market moving in a new direction as the European Commission begins to finalise its draft article 13.1 “Union List” of permitted health claims, an industry adviser has said.
Stefanie Geiser, Regulatory Affairs Manager at international food policy consultancy EAS, said that with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishing its final (6th) batch of article 13.1 claims opinions this week, the Commission remains on track to present its draft article 13.1 "Union list" in December 2011 to the Standing Committee.
Whether the Standing Committee will immediately adopt the text is as yet uncertain, as is the length of the article 13.1 transition period which is expected to expire at some stage in 2012 after the list’s adoption.
Geiser said that once the article 13.1 transition period expires, food companies will face the challenge of having to develop alternative ways of marketing and advertising to communicate health and other benefits of products.
While the Union List of approved claims is not expected to be small, with many claims for vitamins and minerals approved, Geiser said companies will have to adapt strategies to benefit as much as possible from the approved claims, and explore new advertising methods for products with ingredients for which claims have not been approved.
“Regulation has a huge impact on marketing, and health claims play an important role in the marketing of health food and nutritional products,” said Geiser. “But they are not the only marketing drive. Additional ways of making products attractive to consumers can be explored, for example, fresh innovative packaging or product label designs, new tastes, and slogans that fall outside of the scope of the EU health claims regulation.”
“Innovation and differentiation can still be achieved through the inclusion of special ingredients, even without making health claims specifically for these,” she continued, “and claims can be made in different ways, for example, by combining ingredients with approved health claims with other ingredients.”
To address how food businesses can benefit from what has already been learnt in the claims evaluation process, and to help companies offset possible challenges, Geiser and other EAS experts will hold a workshop on 24 November 2011 in Brussels, to give concrete advice on how to tackle the claims regulation.
Titled “Claims: Dealing with the present, planning for the future”, the workshop will give insight into the final expected Article 13.1 Union list, offer tips on how to continue marketing products within the scope of the regulation, explain strategies to best benefit from transition periods, give tips on how to submit successful claims applications to EFSA, clarify the European Commission’s plans relating to claims for botanicals and lay out the future playing field for claims in the European Union (EU).
“Brand names and trademarks expressing health claims, for example, can under certain circumstances continue to be used until 2022 without requiring EU authorisation,” Geiser said. “Certainly, with the majority of claims opinions for many key ingredient claims remaining unfavourable, if adopted, the current traditional marketing line for health claims will change and many companies will be exploring product reformulations and new marketing ideas.
For more information about the EAS claims workshop or to register visit http://www.eas.eu/Events
EAS provides strategic consulting advice on international regulation on food and nutritional products. It provides companies with regulatory solutions for the marketing and approval of their products in Europe, Asia and Latin America. EAS also advises governments, trade associations and companies on the impact of global policy. EAS has offices in Argentina, Belgium, Italy and Singapore. For more information, visit www.eas.eu.
For information on EAS Asia, visit http://www.eas.asia.