New EU-legislation allows the use of weight regulation and satiety-related health claims on foods, if sufficient scientific evidence exists behind the claims. This offers new opportunities to the Nordic food industry.
Within this joint Nordic collaboration project “Substantiation of weight regulation and satiety related health claims on foods” (Weighty), a network of Nordic scientists and food industry working with satiety and weight regulation related issues has been created. In a literature review written by the scientists the current knowledge on food properties affecting satiety and/or weight management has been examined, as well as the potential biomarkers that have been proposed to have a role in satiety and/or weight management. In addition, the group has participated in the discussion on the topic with other actors in the Europe. The results of the project have been disseminated in the form of articles and presentations to food industry, scientists and other stakeholders.
The new EU regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods came into force in January 2007 and has been implemented since July 2007 (Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006). The regulation applies to all nutrition and health claims and covers all foods, including foods provided in restaurants, schools, food supplements and foodstuffs for particular nutritional use. It covers health and nutrition claims in labels, advertisements and promotional campaigns. Although food industry may benefit from the use of the claims by promoting their products, the intended purpose of health claims is to benefit and protect consumers by providing scientifically sound information on healthful eating patterns and relationship between food and health. Thus, all health claims used in the labelling, advertising or promotion of food or food supplements must be substantiated.
The weight regulation and satiety-related health claims on foods belong under article 13.1. claims. They may refer to “slimming or weight-control or a reduction in the sense of hunger or an increase in the sense of satiety or to the reduction of the available energy from the diet”, but can not refer to the rate or amount of weight loss (Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006). The article 13 claims should be based on generally accepted scientific evidence and be well understood by the average consumer. The scientific evidence behind the article 13 claims is evaluated by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). The Commission will establish the list of accepted claims by January 31, 2010.
Research on different nutrients, texture and form of foods and their relationship with satiety and weight management is very active at the moment. The search for food products with enhanced effect on satiety-related perceptions, achieved by e.g. an added ingredient or certain texture, and the relationship between the use of these products and weight management is a hot topic, not least because of the expanding obesity epidemic.
Project leader, Research scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
University of Kuopio, Finland
Functional Food Science Centre, University of Lund, Sweden
Research Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Vet & Agricultural University, Denmark.
Unit for Nutrition Research, University of Iceland & Landspitali-University Hospital, Iceland.
Atria Oy, Finland
Fazer Bakeries, Finland
Valio Oy, Finland
Skane Dairy, Sweden
Lantmännen Food R&D, Sweden.
Danisco Ingredients, Denmark
Danish Meat Association, Denmark
MS Icelandic Dairies, Iceland