SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Beverage Technology & Markets

Read more breaking news

 

 
Dispatches from the #SNC16 congress in Frankfurt

Could energy drinks be cut out of the EU caffeine claim loop?

Post a comment

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

20-Dec-2016
Last updated on 20-Dec-2016 at 14:58 GMT2016-12-20T14:58:17Z

'Rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater we just need to look at it and find a way of making sure the vulnerable consumer is protected,' says GSK. ©iStock/EldadCarin

'Rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater we just need to look at it and find a way of making sure the vulnerable consumer is protected,' says GSK. ©iStock/EldadCarin

The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) is lobbying for two different solutions to the EU caffeine claim hold up, one of which could see use of the claims limited to sports supplements only.  

Five years after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave its thumbs to the science behind five caffeine health claims, controversy on their official approval for use rumbles on.

A report on safe upper limits from EFSA last year meant one of the claims referring to ‘perceived exertion during exercise’ was cast aside for good.  

Then this year members of the European Parliament (MEPs) blocked a draft proposal to finally write the other four claims, doses for which fell within EFSA’s safe limits, into EU law books.

After heated dialogue on energy drink consumption and obesity among young people, the MEPs sent the European Commission  back to the drawing board .

The four pending claims are: 

  • “Caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance performance.” [sports population]
  • “Caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance capacity.” [sports population]
  • “Caffeine helps to increase alertness.” [general population]
  • “Caffeine helps to improve concentration.” [general population]

A fifth claim has already been rejected: “Caffeine contributes to a reduction in the rated perceived exertion/effort during exercise.”

At the recent Sports Nutrition Conference (#SNC16) organised by NutraIngredients in partnership with ESSNA, Maria Thijssen, regulatory affairs manager for ESSNA member company Nutritional GSK (GlaxoSmithKline), told us industry was lobbying for one of two solutions for the claims.

Lobbying for a solution 

One option suggests the current draft single annex amendment – which ties the fate of all four claims – is split into two separate amendments for the two sports-specific claims and the two general population claims on alertness and concentration.  

“As we currently stand, if [the European Parliament] aren’t happy with two of the claims, they can’t approve all four. So that’s the dilemma we’re in at the moment,” Thijssen said.

Another option could be to alter the terms of the claims so that they can only be used on food supplement products, not energy drinks, or that the claims are used only on products marketed specifically for sportspeople.

“That could help eliminate sugary drinks from being allowed to use the claims,” she said.  

Parliamentary debates on the claims centred largely on the potential health halo that could be created over sugary energy drinks, which the MEPs said would exacerbate the obesity crisis.

Doing it for the kids

“I think that the fact that we’ve identified vulnerable [young] consumers should make every FBO [food business operator] stand up and acknowledge that we’ve got a vulnerable consumer, they’re suffering as a result, it’s something that is very real and it is happening.”

She said industry had a responsibility to work with the European Commission, Parliament and EU member state governments to tackle the issue of obesity.

However she added this should be done without “limiting or over-restricting” products that could hold big benefits for sportspeople.

“Rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater we just need to look at it and find a way of making sure the vulnerable consumer, which is the adolescent, is protected.”

©iStock/littlehenrabi

She said the caffeine controversy had shown that claims are more likely to be approved if they specified a target population.

Yet how easy is this when the sports nutrition industry is increasingly broadening its  consumer group ?

At the #SNC16 event, many of the speakers discussed this category blurring, with products not traditionally included in the market brought into the fold to target less hardcore, more casually 'active' groups. 

Asked if the marketing of sports products should be restricted to sportspeople to avoid the uproar seen in the parliamentary debates, she said these products were still relevant for people who did not consider themselves athletes or even committed gym goers but who had set themselves a personal goal of, for example, running a half marathon.

‘The spirit of the law is that you protect your consumer’

Ultimately she said the issue went beyond sticking to the letter of EU law and to a company’s responsibility to make safe products that don’t mislead the consumer.

“So even if you were complying with all the rules and we still had this problem, it would be something that in the spirit of the legislation we’d still have to turn around and look at.

“It’s not something we can just carry on blindly going: ‘No, no, no, we comply with the law we’re not going to think about it.’ You have to, because essentially the spirit of the law is that you protect your consumer, especially protecting vulnerable groups of people, and you’re trying to market a safe and effective product.”

Despite caffeine’s well-known effects of alertness, she said claims were important because “if over time that information starts disappearing from packaging, then people will forget”.

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Could energy drinks be cut out of the EU caffeine claim loop?

Could energy drinks be cut out of the EU caffeine claim loop?

Maria Thijssen

Regulatory affairs manager , Nutritional GSK

Mind, body and spirit: The holistic tea trend

Mind, body and spirit: The holistic tea trend

James Dawson

Founder, Tplus Drinks

Unilever extols the virtues of flavonoids in tea

Unilever extols the virtues of flavonoids in tea

Unilever spoke about flavonoids (dietary compounds) found in tea, wine, cocoa, fruits and vegetables...

Heineken’s next generation smart bottle

‘9 Green Bottles’: Who will design Heineken’s next generation smart bottle?

Nine companies battled it out for a place on Heineken’s Design & Packaging Team...

6 steps to take to “do good” and expand appeal to modern consumers

6 steps companies can take to “do good” and expand their appeal to modern consumers

Modern Americans expect much more from food companies today than they did in the...

Döhler on seeds in smoothies

Smoothies turn to seeds to boost natural positioning

In an effort for products to appear as close to natural as possible, beverage...

Ardagh on beverage packaging crossover innovation

Cross-over innovation: What beverage packaging can learn from other industries

What has chocolate got to do with glass? And what do cars have in...

UAE coffee consumption to reach $112m in 2017

‘Battle of the Baristas’ UAE coffee consumption to reach $112m in 2017

 A total of eight of the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) most talented...

Gebo Cermex agility 4.0 and the factory of the future

The factory of the future: ‘From mass production to mass customization’

Today’s factories are focused on producing large quantities in bulk. Tomorrow’s factories will be...

Factory of the future 5 pillars Gebo Cermex

Five pillars for the 'Factory of the Future': Gebo Cermex

Robots, smart technology, augmented reality… what technology is in store for the factory of...

UK sugar tax: The big questions

UK sugar tax: The big questions

The UK has announced a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. But how hard will it...

Explaining HPP to consumers: How brands use humor, videos and animations to present processing technology

Explaining HPP to consumers: How brands use humor, videos and animations to present processing technology

Consumers want more information about the products they are drinking: from the ingredients in...

FiE 2015: Our best bits

FiE 2015: Our best bits

Our teams of journalists were out in force at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) last...

The taste test: How do you make a probiotic drink taste good?

The taste test: How do you make a probiotic drink taste good?

Probiotic fruit drinks face different challenges to their dairy counterparts - but both face...

‘We try to be one of them’: Tetra Pak exec on vital shopper insights

‘We try to be one of them’: Tetra Pak exec discusses drive for vital shopper insight

Tetra Pak is a B2B company but it invests above the curve in shopper...

Dairy consumers ‘tend to accept’ less package functionality: Tetra Pak

Tetra Pak says dairy consumers ‘tend to accept’ less package functionality

Tetra Pak says it’s vital for its customers to strike a balance between ideal...

Saudi Arabia beverage giant Al Rabie reveals global growth ambition

Saudi Arabia beverage giant Al Rabie reveals global growth ambition

The CEO of Saudi Arabian food and beverage giant Al Rabie Saudi Foods tells...

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence wins 8m+ YouTube views

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence solution strikes YouTube gold with 8 million+ views

Mirabeau En Provence owner Stephen Cronk says the desire for a direct consumer connection...

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM Food Specialities claims that, far from being cautious, craft brewers are embracing the...

Rexam targets dairy drinks with cans after MIO success

Rexam targets dairy drinks with cans after MIO success

Rexam tells BeverageDaily.com it is pursuing business in the dairy drinks segment and says...

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...

Products

Promotional Features