The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) rejected all 181 probiotic dossiers in the first batch of generic article 13.1 claims leading to negative press coverage in leading newspapers across Europe.
Facing an increasingly demanding marketplace, where industry has to work harder to justify the health benefits of probiotics, Chr. Hansen has put science on the front line of its marketing.
“Probio-Tec…when science matters” is the new tagline that will greet customers in the dietary supplement, infant formula and pharmaceutical industries.
Chr. Hansen marketing manager Charlotte Beyerholm said several months analysing the probiotic market led the company to the conclusion that it needed to highlight its documentation and “scientifically superior approach”.
Under the new marketing drive, Chr. Hansen divided the benefits of its eight probiotic strains into four sections: Documented effect, documented stability, proven safety, and multiple applications.
'Documented' is the key word here as EFSA rejects dossier after dossier calling for more rigorous scientific documents. But Beyerholm said the decision to re-orientate its marketing around science was not a consequence of the health claim rejections.
Chr. Hansen has been in probiotics for about 25 years but Beyerholm said the company is only now actively promoting its science. She said pushing science to the fore will give clients a clear picture of what the company stands for and also give them the documented evidence they need to convince consumers that probiotic products are effective.
With regards to Chr. Hansen’s own probiotic dossiers, Beyerholm said EFSA has yet to return a verdict.
Despite the recent rejections of probiotic dossiers, the marketing manager said Chr. Hansen is supportive of the health claims project. Beyerholm said: “An increased focus on health claims is good for the market.”
The Yoghurt and Live Fermented Milks Association (YLFA) was also upbeat about the probiotic rejections in a recent statement.
Representing Chr. Hansen, Danone, Yakult, General Mills-owned Yoplait, Lactalis-Nestlé and Danisco, YLFA said the opinions are not disastrous if technical obstacles can be overcome
“YLFA members will work closely with their partners and with EFSA in order to reduce the ‘technical’ obstacles of these dossiers and allow scientists to continue their research in evaluating the benefits of yoghurts, live fermented milks and probiotic yoghurt and drinks,” the group said.