ESSNA: EU law finally catching up with market reality in ‘milestone’ year

By Dr Adam Carey

- Last updated on GMT

'The sector has grown exponentially in the last few years and officially entered  the mainstream...' ©iStock/kentoh
'The sector has grown exponentially in the last few years and officially entered the mainstream...' ©iStock/kentoh

Related tags Sports nutrition Food Nutrition functional beverage beverage

2016 has been a milestone year for the sports nutrition industry in Europe, says European Specialised Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) chair Dr Adam Carey in this guest article.

This year saw the final chapter of a long and drawn out journey to determine how the industry should be governed and regulated: in June, the European Commission confirmed that there will be no need for specific legislation​ covering sports nutrition, and like any other food product, the sector will fall under general food law.

This is a fantastic outcome and largely thanks to ESSNA’s campaign over the past decade, which was in fact recently shortlisted for an industry award. It is a clear case of the law finally catching up with reality as this liberalisation matches the development of the industry.

The sector has grown exponentially in the last few years and officially entered  the mainstream, with sports nutrition products being used by everyone from casual joggers, to Zumba enthusiasts, to triathletes. New audiences mean new products, which lead to newer audiences, which result in more new products. This virtuous circle replicates itself and is reflected in the new liberal regulations, allowing for great new innovative strides. As everyone within it knows, the story is of a sector of the food industry that is dramatically evolving.

Sports Nutrition 2.0

Nick Morgan

So the background to the ESSNA-NutraIngredients conference​taking place in Frankfurt on 28 November is a positive one. Indeed, it may be time to embrace a new era of sports nutrition, as Sports Integrated’sNick Morgan​ shares the outcomes of work developed in collaboration with whey protein supplier Volac in his presentation ‘Sports Nutrition 2.0’. You can expect a varied and educational programme of presentations, covering everything that has happened in 2016 and how that will affect the industry, from key market shifters, to nutrients driving the sector, to the impact of the new regulations on the industry.

There are still issues to deal with though. Maria Thijssen​, regulatory affairs manager at Nutritional GSK​ and ESSNA member, will be focusing on one: the obstacle of health claims on caffeine for sportspeople, a fine example of EU decision-making processes not moving quickly enough to catch up with the real world.

Terence O’Rorke​, director of business development, Sport and Specialised Analytical Services at LGC-owned QC service Informed-Sport​ will discuss safe food supplement use. Unfortunately, the doping world’s attitude to sports nutrition is an example of an area where old reputations die hard, and Terence will be outlining how we can protect clean sport.

sports body buidling steroid dangeous doping
Professor Keiran Clarke

Alongside this, we’re excited to be hearing from experts including professor Kieran Clarkefrom Oxford University​ on ketone supplements; Dr Samantha Decombel from FitnessGenes​ on bespoke nutrition solutions; Dominik Mattern from Capsugel​ on tools to succeed in the market, and Euromonitor’s Karla Rendle​ will run the rule over key global markets and trends.

Dr Adam Carey-ESSNA
Dr Adam Carey

It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to gain a most valuable insight into what’s in store for the industry. From our side, ESSNA is responding to these changes with a thorough review of their strategy to move ESSNA, along with the industry itself, into the next era of sports nutrition in Europe.


The #SNC16​congress will be held in Frankfurt on 28 November - the day before Health Ingredients Europe​Final seats remaining. More information here​.

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