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Psychological function scarce in EU supplement push - Mintel

By Neil Merrett , 19-Jan-2009
Last updated on 19-Jan-2009 at 14:15 GMT2009-01-19T14:15:07Z

While psychological and behavioural functions form one of the key areas under article 13 of the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) health claims regulation, product launches in the segment appeared scarce last year, says Mintel.

According to market research from the analyst group, just six supplement products had been launched in the EU over the last thirteen months purporting in their text to offer some form of psychological or behavioural benefit from their consumption.

Health claim regulation

Under new regulation adopted back in 2006, in order to obtain health claims for products sold in the bloc, approval must be sought by the EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA).

As part of EFSA’s new regulations for such claims, Article 13 relates to the role of a nutrient or substance on growth, development and bodily functions; psychological and behavioural functions; slimming and weight control and satiety. Under this article, claims are thought to be based on generally accepted scientific evidence.

However, manufacturers have appeared reluctant in the last twelve months to push products onto the market that are linked to having some function for mental wellbeing or the thought process.

Mintel said that during 2008, no vitamin or supplement products were launched offering functional claims related to the brain & nervous system. Upon further searches, the analyst said there had been a little activity for products linked by their manufacturers to psychological or behavioural factors.

Psychological

Under the parameters of psychological functionality, the product launches selected by Mintel from its Global New Product Database (GNPD) were three vitamin supplements purported to offer some form of psychological impact.

The products are marketed as having a range of potential cerebral impacts from boosting libido to alleviating psychological ‘block’ that may affect and slow down slimming.

Behaviour

Between November 2008 and December 2007, three supplements were also launched within the bloc sporting claims by their manufacturers of influencing consumer behaviour.

The products included an omega-3 fortified tablet described as offering a means for boosting memory and helping children’s’ concentration and tablets that use fatty acids in their formulations in an attempt to protect cells from free radical damage.