EU nutrition regulations cause concern for industry
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 2017, Palexpo, 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 ten (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 an 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 experts 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, Informa Exhibitions said: “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. Fortunately, Vitafoods Europe provides a range of services to support and advise companies as they navigate their way around the regulatory maze.”
In addition to the new Advice Centre, Vitafoods Centre Stage will host a keynote panel discussion about the impact of EU regulation on innovation in the ingredient sector. Speakers will include Maryse Hervé, Secretary-General of the Federation of European Specialty Food Ingredients Industries and Beate Kettlitz, Director of Food Policy, Science and R&D at FoodDrinkEurope.
Furthermore, the Vitafoods Education Programme will include a Business Workshop on Ingredient Registration and Regulation.Experts including Patrick Coppens, Regional Director, Europe & MEA, EAS Strategies, Belgium, will deal with questions such as how to bring new ingredients to the EU market.