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Nutraceutical Product Launches: The Importance of Impact


by Carolina Kelleher -

One of the most important questions in any industry is how to measure success.  Increasingly, success is defined in terms of ‘impact’—a strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person.

In the nutraceutical and functional nutrition industry, the creation of lasting impact might be considered one of the aims of corporate social responsibility planning, often with a vague focus on health benefits for consumers. In Europe, however, the importance of impact reaches much further than an ambiguous promise of care.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest research and innovation programme in Europe, specifically dedicated to securing Europe's global competitiveness. As one of the most prestigious research grants available in Europe, projects are evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate impact, emphasising capability to drive economic growth, create jobs, and tackle societal challenges through excellence in science and industrial leadership. In other words,  the programme assesses the potential commercial impact.

In an industry dedicated to supporting the prevention of chronic illness, commercial impact is linked to four elements: proof of efficacy, market need, market access and consumer trust.  

In my last blog, I touched on the challenges associated with proving efficacy and innovating within the strict parameters of European law, as well as the importance of substantiated science. Once proof of efficacy has been established (or not established), focus quickly shifts to strategies to secure commercial success and achieve impact.  

Although the full extent of commercial opportunities may not be understood at the start of a project, market understanding is essential in identifying areas of unmet need, opportunities for further innovation and pockets for growth.

Once market need has been established, the next challenge is access—a contentious topic, with inconsistencies in ingredient registration between EU Member States causing significant hindrance to trade and business growth. This is particularly the case in the field of botanicals, where European legislation is not harmonised and the sheer number of health claim applications is causing a significant backlog.

The final, and arguably the most important, stage to securing impact is achieving lasting consumer loyalty and trust. However, securing consumer buy-in is seldom straightforward. Even if a company has identified a gap in the market, done  due diligence through the research and development (R&D) stages, and been able to secure a health claim, commercial success and impact are not guaranteed.

Gaining consumer trust is the final step in the production cycle, but also the most complicated. The unpalatable truth is 80 percent of all food and health launches fail in their first 12 months, according to HMT. Understanding the countless reasons for failure and the key drivers behind successful brand development, as well as devising effective market strategies, are crucial.

At Vitafoods Europe, we developed a practical education platform of direct and measurable benefit to our delegates. The 2017 Vitafoods Europe Education Programme includes four dedicated Business Workshops; three focus specifically on market needs, market access and consumer engagement. The fourth provides a spotlight on recent developments and the progress made in the field of botanicals, featuring Vittorio Silano, professor at the medical school, II University of Rome, and chairman of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Committee Working Group on botanicals.

Through analysis of the global nutraceutical market—as well as presenting best practice in brand development, effective marketing, regulatory compliance and new product development strategies—the Vitafoods Europe Business Workshops provide a practical guide to achieving lasting commercial impact.