Dispatches from NutraIngredients Health Claims 2010

Linguistic flexibility needed when using health claims on packs, Unilever

Related tags European union Unilever

EFSA’s opinions on health claims are couched in scientific language that food and beverage manufacturers would be unlikely to use on product packaging. Unilever’s director of external affairs explains the need for linguistic flexibility.

Anne Heughan explains that it was not the intention that EFSA’s wording be used by manufacturers, but they may need to use softer language that, nonetheless, reflects the scientific meaning.

She says that the need for flexibility is evident from consumer research Unilever has carried out across the EU. For example, UK consumers prefer more emotional wording, whereas German consumers expect more technical explanations.

To ensure the accurate representation of the scientific wording it is important in the first instance that manufactures have an understanding. After that, self-regulatory bodies like the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency and local enforcement bodies need to ensure alignment so there is consistency throughout the EU – and continued leadership from the European Commission is needed to prepare them for the task.

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