The Belgian sports nutrition and food supplements manufacturer Medix Laboratories and Dubai-based supplement maker Smart Nutrition made three new members for the association this year after the multinational dairy protein firm FrieslandCampina also joined in January.
ESSNA said these new additions bought its membership to 47 – the same number quoted last November when firms Kerry and Fonterra announced they had joined.
Asked if this meant other members had left, Chris Whitehouse, managing director for ESSNA’s communications agency Whitehouse Consultancy, told us members came and went all the time – usually following take overs and plans to become the next big thing through private investment.
The trade association HFMA and UK-based health product marketing and support firm Healthy Inspirations were the two members to leave since November. Whitehouse said the HFMA had helped establish ESSNA but had moved on at the beginning of December because ESSNA was an established association in its own right.
Graham Keen, HFMA's executive director, told us: “The HFMA was instrumental in the original formation of ESSNA in 2003. The HFMA retains detailed and longstanding expertise in the sports supplement market, and the two associations still share consistent missions and goals that we both work to achieve.”
Policing the industry
In the last 18 months the association has upped its efforts to serve as “a ‘police’ to the industry” by monitoring and reporting non-compliance first to the company itself and then to the relevant national authority.
Whitehouse said this activity, which it hoped to continue and increase, had led to an influx in membership applications often from companies who had been contacted for non-compliance issues.
Under ESSNA rules companies would only be accepted if the appropriate changes had been made, for which specialist advisers and the relevant information was offered.
"There were concerns in the past about one applicant whose application was 'paused' for some months because of worries about their compliance, however once they had made changes, they were then accepted as ESSNA members and there have been no other issues since," a spokesperson for ESSNA told us.
In all cases, companies must agree to adhere to its code of conduct and be approved by the other members. These codes were due to be updated for clarity soon.
Commenting on the new members, Dr Adam Carey, ESSNA’s chair and founder and CEO of one of members company Corperformance, said this reflected a rapidly growing interest from sports nutrition firms in upholding “the highest possible standards and protecting consumers from dangerous and illegal products”.
“We can only achieve our aims by working together. Now, more than ever, companies are starting to realise the importance of our sector working in partnership and having a strong, collective voice. It is crucial that we continue to do so and join efforts to ensure consumer safety across the EU and beyond,” he said.
Wim D’Herde, CEO at Medix Laboratoires said: “Medix Laboratoires feels honoured and delighted to be a part of the ESSNA. First of all, Medix Laboratoires wants to thank the ESSNA for its help with the European legislation of sports nutrition and food supplements. The intention of our company is manufacturing under our private label.”
He added: “We are 100% against fraud, doping and hormones.”
Smart Nutrition’s managing director, Mark Robinson, said it wanted to be associated with high standards of accountability and quality. He said the sector was in need of “a regulatory body that is able to lead with passion, commitment and integrity, setting standards for the food supplement industry to adhere to”.