The tough health claims environment in Europe could turn manufacturers towards more subtle – and maybe less ethical – marketing approaches, believes Henry Dixon of PR firm BDB.
Dixon says that the current state of affairs, with the majority of proposed claims turned away by EFSA, is not in the best interests of consumers or industry. The regulation was originally conceived in the spirit of bringing clarity and choice to the market, and providing consumers with functional foods and supplements they could trust and understand.
Now, however, industry may cease to innovate or do R&D outside Europe, or turn to creative marketing such as lifestyle associations, imagery and clever copy lines. It may even adopt some of the marketing practices employed by the tobacco industry.
He concludes that this is “a sad result”, but that there remains a need to push products – and that may mean finding ways to get around the regulation.