European Food Safety Authority (»EFSA«) established a clear and somewhat rigid list of claims that supplements marketers can use on their product packaging, and we want to clarify dos and don’t in collagen supplements marketing with this blog.
It is a lot about health claims
Nutricosmetic, a rising category of food supplements, can claim that “Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation and the normal function of skin” or “zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal hair and nails”. Both fall under the category of a health claim. But on another note, the nutricosmetics industry wants to utilize also claims that fall into the category of beauty claims. They differ from health claims by not attributing medicinal properties to products. It is essential to know that, as such, they do not fall within the scope of EFSA work and are regulated post-market. Meaning they are dealt with case by case by a relevant authority and depend much on the EU member states’ position on beauty claims.
Relevant examples of beauty claims:
- “helps to improve skin tonicity”
- “increases skin elasticity”
- “reduced wrinkle appearance”
- “glossy hair”
- “shinny nails”
EU harmonized legislation can be challenging
Upon introducing a product bearing a beauty claim to the market, national agencies could challenge the marketers by asking them to provide clinical studies to back up their claims. With a lack of regulatory framework, this area is still stuck in the grey zone. However, we could see a list of pre-approved beauty claims in the future, as in the case of health claims.
Even though the regulatory epilogue might be lacking today, some non-profit organizations have established guidelines for substantiating beauty claims in food supplements. We can conclude that beauty claims are general and vague, as are health claims, which poses a challenge to NPD and product placement in marketing. For instance, it is possible to communicate a general claim like “improves the appearance of skin”. While in contrast, a targeted claim, such as “reduces the appearance of under-eye patches”, might be more on the risky side.
The role of ingredients in nutricosmetics marketing
It is important to note that active compounds of nutricosmetics have a very wholesome work mechanism, entering through gastrointestinal pathways into the bloodstream and distributing through the whole body. In contrast, applied topically, traditional cosmetics allow for a more targeted use.
Since in Nutricosmetics, the ingredients are ingested and so they play a role from inside the body before having feedback on the outer (i.e. on skin, hair, nails, joints), research and continuous studies are fundamental in order to build a new category of claims tailored to such industry.