Stakeholder groups have different interests in health claims which may be complementary but also conflicting. It is not clear on beforehand, how managers should deal with legal requirements on claims. Nor is it clear how legal authorities can adjust the present claims regime to address market, consumer, business and normative requirements. This article aims to assess the strategic responses to health claims legislation and implementation by multiple stakeholders with seemingly complementary wishes, but also controversial expectancies: especially consumers, businesses and public authorities. A multidisciplinary approach is carried out, using insights from food technological and medical, economic, legal and managerial sciences. The EU-claims regime and the responses of multiple stakeholder groups are investigated using available research supplemented with case studies of probiotics and botanicals. The system is evaluated within the context of the structure of food law and the legitimate rights and obligations of stakeholders in food supply chains and networks. The main finding is that the costs and uncertainties attached to health claims are important factors impacting the innovation efforts of businesses, the willingness-to-pay of consumers and the effectiveness of public policy. In order to cope with the shortfalls, the EU claims regime needs to switch from a regime-based to a product-based approach by levelling the disparities between the different legal regimes such as foods and pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, a dialogue between stakeholders and adjustment of the present legal system is suggested to reduce the perceived uncertainties and to be able to provide food information in an effective and less risky way.
|Publication status||Published - 2013|