The food industry is notorious for promising a lot, especially when it comes to health foods. But how are these claims evaluated? Is there a process companies need to go through to put claims on their labels? Let’s take a look at how substantiating claims work in the food industry.
Why Substantiating Food Industry Claims Is Important
Substantiating claims in the food industry is a critical part of ensuring that marketing and labeling claims made about food products are truthful, accurate, and supported by scientific evidence. These claims can encompass various aspects of a product, including nutritional content, health benefits, sourcing, and production methods.
How Substantiating Food Industry Claims Works
There is a general process that must be followed to substantiate food industry claims to get approval on labeling & marketing.
Food Claim Development
Companies develop specific claims they want to make about their products. These claims may relate to health benefits (low in fat, high in fiber, etc), food sourcing (all-natural, organic, etc), or production methods (non-GMO, etc).
To support these claims, scientific research is often conducted. This research often involves laboratory studies, clinical trials, nutritional analyses, and other forms of scientific investigation. If a product claims to be heart-healthy, studies may be conducted to demonstrate its impact on heart health.
Gathering & Analyzing Data
Data is collected and analyzed during the research process to provide evidence for the claim. This data may include nutritional content, ingredient analysis, health effects, consumer preferences, and more.
Legal and Regulatory Reviews
Companies must ensure that their claims comply with applicable laws and regulations. Food regulatory authorities, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have specific requirements for food labeling and advertising claims. Most companies consult with legal experts to navigate these regulations.
In some cases, companies seek third-party verification or certification for their claims. Independent organizations or certification bodies may assess and verify that the product meets certain standards or criteria. A good example is the USDA Organic label is a third-party certification for organic products.
Documentation and Records
It is essential to maintain thorough documentation of the research, testing, and verification processes. This documentation can be crucial in case of legal challenges or regulatory inquiries.
Finalize Labeling and Marketing
Once claims are substantiated and verified, they can be used in product labeling, advertising, and marketing materials. Companies must ensure that these claims are clearly and accurately communicated to consumers.
Legitimate Consumer Education
In addition to making claims, companies often provide information to educate consumers about the benefits and attributes of their products. This can include nutritional facts, ingredient lists, and explanations of specific claims.
Regular Monitoring and Compliance
Even after a product is launched, companies must monitor its compliance with claims and regulations. Regular testing and quality control measures help ensure that the product continues to meet its claimed standards.
Prepare for Future Challenges
If consumers or regulatory agencies raise concerns or challenges about a claim, the company must be prepared to address them promptly and transparently. This may involve further research or modifications to the claim.
The Importance of Substantiating Claims
Substantiating claims in the food industry is a rigorous process designed to protect consumers from false or misleading information. The process is also designed to allow companies to communicate the genuine benefits and qualities of their products. Claim substantiation is subject to oversight by regulatory authorities and may involve legal consequences if claims are found to be unsubstantiated or misleading.
The food industry claims substantiation process is designed to protect both consumers and producers.
Research at Biofortis
Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.Tags: nutraceuticals, nutrition, studies, testing