Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Suppliers

Read more breaking news


special edition: sports nutrition

EU sports segment hurdles: Health claims and categorisation

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

Last updated on 05-May-2014 at 08:52 GMT2014-05-05T08:52:00Z

If creatine hadn’t got an approved health claim, sports fanatics wouldn’t care, according to an analyst
If creatine hadn’t got an approved health claim, sports fanatics wouldn’t care, according to an analyst

Hard core sports nutrition users don’t care about health claims, according to an analyst, but industry associations say its members have approval in their sights.

A spokesperson for the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) - members including First Milk, Maximuscle, Grenade and Glanbia - said the ability to make such claims was key in restoring faith in the much-marred sector, but it was important that specific needs of sports people were taken into account in assessment. 

Director general of the British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA), Roger Clarke, told us that members of the trade group were currently preparing several health claims including one for carbohydrates, saying while he thought the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was best placed to do this, fears around political and 'emotional' interference on the part of member states remain.  

Meanwhile consumer health analyst for Euromonitor International, Chris Schmidt, told NutraIngredients hard core sports nutrition users were a savvy, forum-frequenting bunch for whom EU-approved health claims meant next-to-nothing.

Specialising in legislation

Clarke said the BSNA welcomed the potential for sports nutrition products to transition out of the current PARNUT S (foods for particular nutritional uses) system and be brought under the remit of the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

ESSNA told us the main challenge in sports nutrition industry was how to avoid over-regulation whilst having the specific needs of sports people recognised within general food law. But it said this need not mean further regulation.

“The biggest challenge here is to effectively enforce the legislation in place - there is a lot of it. Policy makers believe the answer to a crisis is more regulation but the real answer is applying the law and that means investment by government. In times of austerity it seems enforcement takes a back seat and as such self-regulation becomes a significantly important issue and in that respect ESSNA and its members are beginning to take on this role,” the group said.

Building reputation

ESSNA said another challenge facing the sector was improving public perception of the industry, particularly given the, “misconceptions that still surround the sports nutrition sector amongst some politicians, officials and other bodies in charge of setting the regulatory framework”.

It said: “ESSNA seeks to improve the reputation of sports nutrition sector by working with regulators and taking steps to disassociate responsible brands from those few that tarnish its reputation.” 

The group said that claims were crucial in their ability to allow firms to lawfully promise safety, performance and recovery benefits to consumers. “Health claims legislation has an extremely important impact on the sports nutrition sector. The legislation seeks to ensure that misleading claims are banned, which should increase consumer safety and protection and build long-term trust in sports supplements."

Unmoved meat heads

Schmidt said he did not see the issue of health claims as a key challenge for the sector, particularly since “fanatical users” were the type to seek out their advice online, as opposed to waiting for a judgement from an authority like EFSA. He said these claims were only likely to sway more casual sports nutrition users. 

“They’re not looking for these claims – they’re already aware of the product’s functionality,” he said. “If creatine hadn’t got an approved health claim, they wouldn’t care."

“I don’t really think the EFSA health claims rubric is that big an issue for the sports nutrition segment.”

Schmidt said many of the big category ingredients like protein already held approved claims, and those that didn’t used specific “jargon” like “pumped” which would not ostensibly fall within the realms of this regulation. He said it was hard to say if this kind of communication would be policed under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

To date there are 24 sport nutrition-related health claims approved within the EU, as listed in the graph below.

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars