Multi-stakeholder responses to the European Union health claims requirements

H.J. Bremmers, B.M.J. van der Meulen, K. Purnhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


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, company 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 expectations: especially consumers, companies 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 companies, the willingness-to-pay of consumers and the effectiveness of public policy. A dialogue between stakeholders and adjustment of the present legal system from a regime-based to a product-based approach is suggested to reduce the perceived uncertainties and to be able to provide food information in an effective and less risky way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-172
JournalJournal on Chain and Network Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • corporate strategy
  • food information
  • health claims
  • stakeholder responses


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