In the complex and competitive European supplement sector, companies that provide guidance on legal, nutritional and scientific matters, market analysis and clinical trials can play a critical role in helping brand holders get new products to market.

Heather Granato, VP, Partnerships & Sustainability

June 10, 2016

2 Min Read
From Consultation to Realization: The Aid of Research, Consultancy and Certification Companies

There are many hurdles to be cleared by new European supplement and functional food products, including the need by the brand owner to choose which track—or tracks—of many to run down, which offer the shortest distance to the finishing line and the best chances of winning. That is why, in this sector, companies that provide guidance on legal, nutritional and scientific matters, market analysis and clinical trials play such a critical role in helping get new products to market.

Consider the role of clinical research. While the bar for obtaining a positive opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and an approved claim has been set extremely high, with very few products succeeding, contract research organizations (CROs) report that companies are investing in studies that can help otherwise generic products have a point of differentiation. In addition, trials can delve into the significance of an ingredient or product for particular target markets, further supporting the route to market.

Brand owners eager to both avoid the pitfalls of the claims paradigm under the Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation and achieve some sort of specific claim may adopt different strategies. One such route is as Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs), which up to now have been regulated as part of the wider legislative framework for dietetic foods. Other firms are turning to options such as classification as medical devices. Whichever path a company takes, however, having support from a regulatory expert can help navigate the differences among European countries in how the categories are defined and regulations enforced.

One area that spans all categories is quality. Testing and quality assurance (QA) firms have certification programs in place that can help differentiate a product on the basis of its high quality. For example, in the sports nutrition space, certifications exist that ensure a product has no substances that have been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). More broad certifications verify the product matches all labelling and nutrition claims.

Research, consultancy and certification companies emphasize when choosing a partner, careful attention to applicable standards is important. A new report from Vitafoods Europe explores how these types of partner organizations can bolster a company’s chances for success across the challenging European supplements market. For more information, download the Vitafoods Insights special report “From Consultation to Realization."

About the Author(s)

Heather Granato

VP, Partnerships & Sustainability, Informa Markets, Food EMEA division

Heather Granato is a 30-year veteran of the natural products industry, currently serving as vice president, partnerships & sustainability, in the Food EMEA division of Informa Markets. She is based in London, and leads efforts related to industry partnerships and broader sustainability initiatives for the Vitafoods and Food ingredients brands. She has been a presenter at events including SupplySide, Vitafoods, Food ingredients, Natural Products Expo, the Natural Gourmet Show and the Folio: Show. Her publishing experience includes Natural Products Insider, Food Product Design, Vitafoods Insights, Country Living's Healthy Living, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Delicious Magazine and Granato serves as the founding president of Women In Nutraceuticals, a global non-profit founded in 2022 focused on empowering women in the nutraceutical industry; she is also on the board of directors for the Organic & Natural Health Association. From 2016 to 2022, she was a vice president on the national governing board of Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity. Granato was named to the FOLIO: 100 list of top media professionals in 2018, and was selected as a 2015 Top Woman in Media by FOLIO:. She received the 2014 Visionary Award and the 2018 Journalistic Excellence Award from the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA); and was honored with the CEO Merit Award for Content from Virgo in 2014. Granato graduated magna cum laude from the University of Richmond, Virginia, in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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