New product development is an incredibly exciting experience. But can you imagine scaling up, getting your labels designed, and pitching to a buyer, only to be told your product isnt compliant so can’t be listed? Or worse, seeing it delisted due to enforcement action?
You don’t want to have gone through all the rigorous product development and design stages, only to find that a specific ingredient, or health claim, isn’t accepted. Our food regulatory experts share their advice on the questions you should be asking to help ensure your product is compliant across all the markets you intend to sell it in.
Advice from our regulatory experts: “Starting compliance early and building a solid footing from which to develop your product can make the entire process easier; from product positioning and marketing claims to product information and labelling, design, and packaging.” Some of the questions to ask yourself are:
- What markets do you want to sell in?
- What marketing claims can you use to showcase the benefits of your product?
- What formulation and supply chain elements do you need to consider to qualify the use of these claims?
- Is your brand name or label design referencing a health benefit (e.g. SlimFast)?
- How do the rules differ between your intended markets of sale?
Developing a Novel Food Product
For novel foods, any compliance journey needs to recognise that an ingredient, finalised food, or process is just that – novel – and understand what that truly means. So, these questions need to be asked at the beginning of your NPD process.
- Does it need to go through the approval process in each new market you are launching it in? And if so, how long will this take?
- How much information and substantiation is required? What is the cost of that?
- Can the food be used in accordance with an existing approval, but with restrictions — for example, how it can be used, in what foods, in what quantity, and what information, if any, should appear with the product?
You may think once your product has been developed that the ‘compliance’ process is over. However, lots of things can affect the compliance of your product. That’s why good record-keeping is key – it will not only help to satisfy legal requirements but will also reassure consumers who increasingly want to know more about their products.
Your pack copy may need to change every time you enter a new market, adapt a recipe, or switch suppliers. Through good record-keeping, ideally, in a specification system, you can protect yourself and your brand from running into problems with enforcement in the future. And it can help you provide consumers with relevant information quickly and with ease.
Rather than trying to keep on top of the ever-changing food legislation, it may be easier to use a food consulting company to check your pack copy is compliant when entering new markets.
Is Regulatory Compliance a Promoter or Inhibitor of Growth & Innovation?
“Compliance may be considered a process that could hinder innovation, but its role is crucial in protecting consumers and promoting food safety, and in making sure companies compete on a level playing field.
Typically, innovation often happens at a much faster rate than regulation can keep up. But you can leverage regulations to support or enhance your innovation by asking the questions we presented above.”
When you are working on a new product, do consider partnering with a food consulting company like Ashbury. The world of regulatory compliance can be confusing. Our food consultants can help to take you from a place of uncertainty to compliance confidence. Find out more about what we can do for you here.
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