From health claims to emotional claims®
The new regulatory context in Europe related to food communication is restrictive but is also an opportunity for industrials to rethink their communication strategies. When nutrition or health claims are not enough, alternative strategies have to be developed. Different aspects can convey health messages: the product itself, but also the product’s environment, the brand image or the institutional commitment to nutrition. On the product, one way to communicate is to use emotional claims®: focusing on imagination and emotions in order to suggest a health message. Danone’s Actimel® is an excellent case to study because its communication strategy has evolved throughout the years to adapt to the regulation while keeping an evocative message about the product’s health benefit.
THE NEW EUROPEAN REGULATORY CONTEXT: RESTRICTIVE BUT CHALLENGING
For years, regulation was blurry as far as nutritional products were concerned. Nutrition and health claims were used with no specific permission. Things have recently changed: since 2006, the European Union has established a new regulation on use of claims (1) in order to make sure that consumers are correctly informed about the real impact of what they eat on their health, and to homogenize regulation among European countries. Since then, several additional texts complete the general rules.
To claim on the products health benefits, several options are possible:
Using nutrition claims
They are defined by the EFSA as “any representation which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular nutritional properties including but not limited to the energy value and to the content of protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as the content of vitamins and minerals”. For instance “source of fibre” or “low sodium” are typical nutrition claims.
To use a nutrition claim, the nutrient only needs to be present in sufficient quantity i ...