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A firm foundation in changing times

Esther Mills-Roberts
Director of Communications, Health Food Manufacturers’ Association

"What a year! 2022 brought with it so many changes. All around us, we’ve seen shake-ups on every level, from the structure of Government, the Monarchy, right down to bedrock of planning family finances. And in our work lives, as an industry we find ourselves doing what we do best – buckling down with firm resolve to meet challenges head on with fervour and determination.

"At times like these, when businesses have grappled with movement of goods issues, companies going into administration, increased attention on Novel Foods, resistance to change on Nutrition and Health Claims and a renewed focus on botanicals, it’s important to have somewhere to go.

"For our members, that ‘go to’ is the HFMA. With nine out of 10 saying that they would recommend HFMA membership to others (2021 HFMA Member Survey), it’s clear to see that our expertise and services are highly valued. Why? Because our members know that we truly are purposeful and influential. We put their money where our industry mouth is, as we continue to be The Voice of UK Natural Health.

"Getting under the skin of key industry issues is something that we do every day. Being a strategic mover and shaker, the HFMA tactfully and deliberately takes positions in areas that protect the whole industry and right now that covers key areas around use of additives, the folic acid fortification planning and the impact that this is going to have on consumer understanding of the need for supplementation, as well as quality standards for botanical ingredients – making sure that GMP is fully recognised.

"We continue to push forwards with opportunities post-Brexit, maintaining resolve in the dialogue around the use of the term ‘probiotic’, which is a drum that we just keep on banging. Along with other industry stakeholders we continue to argue that the word ‘probiotics’ should be allowed on pack, and we will keep promoting updates to the regulatory position when it’s based on good common sense.

"The notion of things ‘making good sense’ underpins the HFMA approach. So, when looking at the emerging collagen market, it was time to set up a collagen Special Interests Group. Emerging technologies are pushing into new realms and marketeers are finding new messages to expand into the vegan sector.

"But what of the science? With the HFMA’s expert advisors and the pooled technical and comms expertise of our members, we are able to dig into some tough questions about science-based intake recommendations, collagen biochemistry and product-supporting marketing information to ask, again, is this ‘making good scientific sense?’. We know from experience that it won’t be too long down the road that any spurious claims or flimsy science will be challenged, and companies within the HFMA will have done the hard work to have supporting data ready, strengthened by a united industry position.

"This strong and united industry position is the basis of everything that we stand for. It is our industry’s firm foundation."

For more information about the work of the HFMA and membership: [email protected]

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