Headline news roundup: August 2023

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Trends Innovation Regulation New product development Labelling Sports nutrition Sports nutrition products AI Probiotics legal

During August, the industry was inspired by reports on consumer trends, welcomed a next step in probiotic harmonisation, discovered further AI technology advances, and encountered regulatory clarity issues.

Reports from Haleon and Qina act as inspiration for companies looking to keep a competitive edge, showcasing key industry trends and leveraging scientific research for marketing. 

In regulatory news, concerns were raised by experts on new proposals to enhance adherence to health claim regulation due to already minimal prosecution efforts, calls were made for THC limit clarity in CBD products, and the necessity for standardisation of EU probiotic labelling prompts the need for a working group. 

AI stayed in the spotlight with a new supplement formulation tool from Biomdrin, and looking forward to 2024, VOW Nutrition partnered with Team GB ahead of the Olympics.

Call for EU working group to bring harmonisation to probiotic regulation

The European Commission has proposed the establishment of an EU working group​ aimed at achieving regulatory consistency regarding the term 'probiotic' across EU Member States.

The initiative arose following a meeting where Austria sought clarification on France's allowance​ of the term on food supplement labels. Italy, France, and other countries have permitted its use with specific claims related to intestinal health.

While some Member States have permitted this term's use, it has not received official endorsement from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), leading the European Commission to view it as an unauthorised health claim.

Experts and industry figures express support for the working group, seeing it as a potential path to standardising the term's usage, considering consumer understanding and evolving scientific perspectives.

"The future is here": AI tool develops scientifically-sound supplements at speed

Biomdrin​, a subsidiary of plant-based collagen company VeCollal, has introduced an AI-powered tool​ designed to expedite the development of scientifically valid supplements.

With data on over 70,000 ingredients, the tool can rapidly process information related to diseases, gene associations, and ingredient interactions, enabling the creation of effective nutraceutical solutions.

Co-founder Tony Van Campen explains that the tool's capacity to analyse vast amounts of data and uncover intricate connections between diseases, genes, and ingredients is far beyond human capability.

This innovation significantly reduces the time required for formulation development, potentially eliminating the need for in vitro testing and enhancing success rates in clinical trials.

As Campen notes, the tool's focus on scientific rigour has the potential to enhance consumer trust in the nutraceutical market.

Haleon sales highlight the importance of clinical trials for supplement success

Health giant Haleon's recent sales success in the supplement category, as showcased in their half-year results in which revenue has surged by 10.6% (£5,738m) compared to the previous year, can reportedly be attributed to their emphasis on clinical trials and scientific communication​.

Brian McNamara, CEO, highlights that the impressive growth of their 'Centrum' multivitamins brand is a result of substantiating their products through scientific research​ and being able to apply results to marketing strategies. 

Industry experts emphasise that clinical research is pivotal in establishing brand credibility and differentiating products in a competitive market, as well as boosting consumer confidence, and guiding marketing efforts.

VOW Nutrition collaborates with Team GB ahead of 2024 Olympic games

VOW Nutrition has joined forces with Team GB​ as the Official Nutrition Licensee for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic games.

The sports nutrition brand will provide Team GB athletes with a range of nutritional supplements​ including whey and plant-based protein drinks​, hydration formulas, and nutritional chews which have been studied​ for efficacy in supporting performance during short-duration, high-intensity exercise.

Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Matt Richards and bronze-winning sprinter Daryll Neita will serve as athlete ambassadors, benefiting from VOW's nutritional products.

The ACI puts pressure on UK Home Office to set THC limit

The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), led by its founder Steve Moore, is urging the UK Home Office (HO) to establish a clear legal framework regarding THC limits for CBD​ products. 

The ACI's action follows the revocation of Jersey Hemp's export license by the HO, due to their "broad spectrum" CBD products exceeding the imposed THC limit, causing concern in the industry.

According to Moore, the CBD Novel Foods process has “ground to a halt” due to the lack of standardised product testing methodology and an established legal THC limit.

Moore emphasises that the absence of legal clarity exposes companies to law enforcement risks while they seek marketing authorisation, but that once scientists agree on these parameters, the government could introduce an exemption for CBD wellness products.

Experts react to new health and nutrition claim proposals

The UK Office for Health Improvements and Disparities (OHID) has introduced proposals to enhance adherence to health and nutrition claim regulation​ (NHCR), prompting reactions from regulatory experts.

The suggested approach involves implementing improvement notices that permit food companies to rectify NHCR non-compliance before facing fines or imprisonment.

While some experts argue that the current NHCR enforcement is already lacking due to minimal prosecution efforts and prevalent non-compliance, others remain skeptical about the impact of these proposals.

Consultant T C Callis believes the new measures will likely have little effect, anticipating that local authorities will continue to leave claim enforcement to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Legal expert Dr. Mark J. Tallon criticised the proposals for lacking meaningful reform that addresses real enforcement issues on the ground.

Qina reveals top 10 trends in personalised nutrition

Qina consultancy's personalised nutrition experts have unveiled a top trends report featuring key developments in the field​.

They emphasised the entry of big tech companies like Apple and Google into personalised nutrition, offering tailored health recommendations based on user data and partnering with healthcare providers, as well as noting the increasing popularity of at-home blood draws through DIY kits.

They highlighted areas of app development, firstly in meal planning and recipe platforms as a response to consumer interest in using food as medicine, then FemTech’s focus on expansion beyond menopause and fertility tracking to address conditions like thyroid disease and PCOS.

Other trends include attention to the medically-oriented solutions for weight loss; the resurgence of nutrigenetics; the integration of ChatGPT technology; the attention towards postbiotics for gut health; the growing emphasis on metabolic health solutions; and the demand for personalised, convenient nutritional supplements.

Follow us


View more