a&r’s News Digest – We dedicate this month’s issue to how claims can influence consumers purchase decisions and the news upper limits for vitamins and minerals in Ireland.



What is the real “impact” of NHR claims? How to they influence consumers purchases decisions?

The EU regulation No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods defines nutrition, health, and risk-reduction claims (NHR claims) as:
  • Nutrition claim: “any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties due to e.g. nutrient”
  • Health claim: “any claim that states, suggests or implies that a relationship exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health”
  • Risk-reduction claim: “any health claim that states, suggests or implies that the consumption of a food category, a food or one of its constituents significantly reduces a risk factor in the development of a human disease”

Food business operators are always eager to make NHR claims on their products as they believe this will have a positive impact on consumers purchase choices and thus translating into increase sales.

Studies have, however, shown mixed results about their impact on consumers purchase behavior, with some even suggesting that their use should be well-considered. To better understand these inconsistent results, a recent review analyzed the factors associated with the impact of NHR claims on consumers’ preferences and purchase behaviors (Steinhauser and Hamm, 2018). The study was based on 66 studies conducted between 1980s to 2017 and focused only on NHR claims that are shown in a written format on food packages (excluding nutritional labels).

Besides general factors such as consumer’s country of origin or country specific legal framework, there are other determinants that influence consumer’s preferences and purchase intent associated with NHR claims. Consumer’s health motivation and nutritional knowledge (objective and perceived/subjective knowledge) were found to be key elements influencing consumer’s decisions, being health motivation a more prominent feature and nutrition knowledge a decisive factor. According to the authors, higher nutritional knowledge lead to lower preferences or lower purchase intentions towards NHR claim products, while higher health motivation lead to higher preferences or higher purchase intentions. Likewise, consumers with disease experience (their own or from relatives) also showed higher preference for products containing claims. This was also relevant for older consumers and women. There was also a positive correlation between consumer familiarity with claim type or ingredient (e.g. vitamin C) and consumer preferences.

Other important determinants mentioned for the NHR claim effect towards consumer preferences and purchase behavior were linked with the product itself but the results were inconclusive. However, the authors concluded that the effect of a product with claims was dependent of the product perceived healthiness and this was also strongly dependent on the interaction between the product and the nutrients in the NHR claim (e.g. NHR claim about omega-3 lead to higher preference for a fish product than for bread which would be better advertised with a claim about fiber). Moreover, the effect of NHR claims on nutritional unfavorable products could potentially mislead the consumer by making the product appear healthy (e.g. vitamins and minerals added to sugary breakfast cereals).

It is important to build trust with consumers and not provide misleading information. Food business operators should make sure that they provide consumers with meaningful nutritional or health claims on their products. We can support you and develop a tailor-made claim strategy and roadmap for your product. Get in touch today!

Regulatory News

Ireland and new upper limits for vitamins and minerals

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) Scientific Committee published this month a report on the Safety of Vitamins and Minerals in Food Supplements for Ireland. In the absence of maximum levels for vitamins and minerals at the EU level, this report is a guide for the food supplement industry to ensure that the daily dose provided by supplements containing vitamins and minerals is safe for the Irish population. The report provides tolerable upper intake levels (UL) by specific population groups from whom the food supplement is intended. A UL refers to the maximum daily intake of a nutrient considering all food sources and are not to be confused with maximum doses for food supplements.

A comparison between the ULs provided by EFSA (2017) and the ones included in this report showed that no UL recommendations were made for some vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B12, biotin, phosphorus and potassium for the Irish population.

The ULs for nicotinamide were found to be different between EFSA and FSAI recommendation. FSAI recommends much higher ULs for all age groups e.g. the UL for adults is 900 mg/day while the EFSA UL in the same age group is 300 mg/day.
Considering vitamin A, 600 ug RE/d for children under the age of 1 year is the UL for the Irish population. However, EFSA did not define any recommendation for vitamin A for this age group.

When it comes to calcium, FSAI provides ULs for the ages groups between infants and teenagers. These ULs were derived from the IOM.

Recommendations for vitamin C, sodium, chloride, iron and manganese ULs were also included in the FSAI report. In contract, EFSA did not stablish ULs for these vitamins and minerals.

NutraBusiness Intel

Fine Foods merges with Innova Italy 1

7 June 2018

Fine Foods, Italian CMO, has signed on the 7th of June an agreement for business combination with Innova Italy 1, through which the company plans to list on the AIM Italia managed by the Italian Stock Exchange with €100 million of new financial resources to fuel growth.

Innova Italy 1 SpA is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, which support medium-sized Italian companies listing them on the stock exchange, providing capital for growth and actively supporting the entrepreneur in defining and implementing company strategies.

GBT acquires Phytovir line

8 June 2018

OTC specialist GBT Pharma has acquired the Swiss brand, Phytovir topical cold sore brand, for an undisclosed sum. Phytovir range includes a food supplement line, a topical cream, patches and a lip salve with sun protection. This range is backed up by clinical and open-label studies, showing efficiency equivalent to that of the market leading brand.

Amazon brand Solimo moves into the food supplement market

8 June 2018

Amazon has given another step forward into the consumer healthcare space including VMS products under its already existing brand, Solimo.

Solimos vitamins and supplements comprise around a dozen of products without artificial flavours or colours, gluten or lactose as Amazon wants to reach the growing numbers of consumers who want more “clean label” and “free-from” products. Amazon already launched a supplement line under its Element brand in 2017. However, this brand is not labeled as being free of artificial ingredients.

Solimo includes various vitamins and minerals, multivitamins for hair, skin and nails, glucosamine chondroitin complex, CoQ10, probiotic, and fish oil.

BioGaia expands their geographical footprint to Mongolia

8 June 2018

BioGaia has recently signed a distribution agreement with Monos Pharma to commercialize their probiotics in Mongolia. The probiotics range will be on the market under BioGaia´s brand Protectis and is planned to be launched in Q1 of 2019.

Reckitt Benckiser invests in e-commerce player Pharmapacks

15 June 2018

Pharmapacks has raised €28.0 million by selling a “minority stake at an undisclosed valuation”, with the funding round led by RB. Pharmapacks offers a large array of health, beauty, personal care and household products. E-commerce is already becoming a leading driver of growth for RB brands like Enfamil, Lysol, Mucinex and Airborne. Therefore, this investment will help both companies serve their online shoppers better and grow at a faster pace.

Recordati acquired Natural Point S.R.L.

11 June 2018

Recordati has announced the acquisition of Natural Point S.r.l., an Italian company, based in Milan. Natural Point produces food supplements, such as fatty acids, functional foods, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, plant-extracts, and minerals. The company realized sales of € 15 million in 2017 and this acquisition is in line with Recordati´s plan of growing presence in the food supplement market.

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Your experts

Irene Wohlfahrt
Irene WohlfahrtSenior Consultant
Dr. Inês Rocha
Dr. Inês RochaScientific Consultant

At analyze & realize, we are experts in the field of natural health products, having provided our services for more than 20 years. We offer a unique combination of expertise in natural health products through our scientific, regulatory, and strategic innovation consulting and our clinical research organization with its own clinical trial center in Berlin, Germany. Thanks to our close interaction with the natural product market as well as our extensive network, we are always at the forefront of the latest information and innovation trends. With its international team of 35 employees, a&r is a leading European one-stop-shop ready to guide and support your needs in natural health product innovation.

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