Innovative product concepts that can improve consumer appeal without using health claims
The Health Claims Regulation was a regulatory wake-up call to the food industry and changed the nutrition business landscape in Europe tremendously. As a consequence, stakeholders and food business operator are seeking other ways to increase the innovative potential of their products to attract consumers. Market research results clearly indicate that a scientific claim is only one part of a product’s characteristics. Other aspects (e.g. increased bioavailability of active ingredients, new product delivery forms, statements on sustainability measures) become more important. Especially if these benefits of a product have been already learned by the consumer or if the consumer can experience the product’s advantages directly.
This paper will highlight some of the developments in the food technology business to increase consumer perception by other factors than scientific claims. The author will discuss if the new industrial focus on technical improvements, fancy product labels, and eye-catching marketing features will lead to higher consumer awareness of innovative food products in the long term.
Since the new Health Claim Regulation EC 1924/2006 came into effect in the European Union in 2007, it has become obvious that EFSA is using gold standard measures (some may call them ‘pharma-like’ measures) to evaluate health claim applications. This has led to the outcome that most claim applications have been rejected, leaving manufacturers with the so-called generic (article 13.1) health claims.
Generic health claims are generally accepted claims mostly made on vitamins and minerals. The substantiation of these claims is based on generally accepted scientific data or textbook knowledge. The generic claims can be used by everyone, provided the conditions of use are met, while individual innovative claims involving new science (article 13.5 claims) are specific to the ingredients for which they were applied. It has therefore become an option to the nutritional industry to use generic health claims rather than file a time-consuming and costly claim application for an individual health claim – all the more as there is an obviously high risk to fail EFSA’s scientific assessment.
While those generic claims give rise to a ...