Controversial and widely despised EU health claim laws are benefitting its business and the wider food supplements market, according to leading Spanish manufacturer, Forté Pharma.
“Things are stricter and clearer now,” said Eric Bendelac, the director of Natraceutical-owned food supplements business, Forté Pharma.
“It is good for companies like us. It puts out of the market the smaller companies that do not do things by the book.”
Many manufacturers and the trade groups that represent them have campaigned hard – and continue to do so – against the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR). They claim it runs off overly strict scientific criteria to win claims and the costs involved to win claims are too high for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Forté Pharma, which has about 40 products and generated sales just shy of €30m in 2012, specialises in weight loss and broader health food supplements with brands like Vitalité 4G, Turbodraine, Turboslim, and CaloriLight.
Its health range included brands like Gélée Royale, DéfensActiv' and Chondralgic.
“…at the beginning we thought it would have a higher impact.”
It’s Q1 profit this year was €2.94m, a rise of 62% on Q1 2011 despite the anticipation and imposition of a strict list of approved claims in the EU in December 2012, and the rejection of almost all weight management related claims in the process.
“Of course we had to adjust some claims,” Bendelac said. “But we had done the work on this previously and the main products were already reformulated to be compliant. To be honest, at the beginning we thought it would have a higher impact.”
“We have always taken the view that this is an opportunity not a burden.”
In 2012, France was the biggest market for Forté Pharma, accounting for 66.9% of sales but down 3.7%, followed by Benelux (12.2%; +2.8%) and Spain (11.1%; +9.3%).