Marketing Vs Healthy Declarations
The EU published in 2012 a list of 222 healthy food declarations to inform about the nutrients and qualities of a product in the package in a clear and non-deceptive way. These still generate confusion among some food companies when they want to customize the authorized text for the packaging of their product.
That is why, in that same year, the European Union expert commission on “Declarations of nutritional and healthy properties in food” agreed seven recommendations to better understand how member states should adapt health declarations. Next we will comment on six recommendations made by the commission.
1. Ensure that the adapted wording has the same meaning for the consumer as the authorized wording. The adapted text must mean the same as the statement accepted in the register of healthy properties. That is, the adapted text should not be “stronger” than the authorized version, so that the declaration does not become misleading.
For example: if the authorized declaration were “Nutrient X contributes to a normal function of the immune system”, it could be considered an adapted version that “Nutrient X helps to maintain …” or “Nutrient X contributes to normal functioning …”, but not ” Nutrient X stimulates the function … “or” X helps optimize the functioning of …”
- Use of the normal term
The term “normal” appears in many health declarations authorized in the English and Spanish versions, therefore in this case, the adapted text must be kept, but it should not be substituted or deleted. In other versions of the member states, “normal” is not used if not “adequate” or “healthy”. In any case, the fundamental principle is that the adapted wording does not vary its meaning from the authorized one.
3. Relationship between the alleged effect and the nutrient, substance, food or category of food responsible The declarations of properties must be claimed to the nutrients or substances but not to the product itself. For example: “Nutrient X contributes to a normal function of …” or “Product Y contains nutrient X that contributes to …” but never “Product Y contributes to … and contains nutrient X”.
4. Particular considerations for health claims on food supplements The names of the categories of nutrients or substances that characterize the product must be listed on the label of a food supplement.
5. Presentation of general non-specific health statements When the package refers to general and non-specific benefits of the nutrient, the specific authorized health claim must be accompanied. For example: the statement “Good for your skin” should be accompanied by “Y containing X contributes to …”
6. Registered trademark, trademark or fantasy name If “Good for your skin” was not a general statement , but a registered trademark, commercial or fantasy, you will have to specify the same information considered in the previous section. In LegaleGo Consultoría Alimentaria we are specialists in the development and writing of labeling and advertising texts of food supplements.
From our technical and legal department, we advise the marketing area of companies to write the texts that sell their products, without considering healthy statements not allowed.