In the last portion of our series, we’re covering how to recognize the opportunities to make qualified health claims about your products. During this phase of the food industry where functional medicine is colliding with food manufacturing at a rapid rate, manufacturers have been given the unique ability to market their products in a whole new way — citing the health benefits of their product ingredients on their food label. This is the basis for learning how to make a qualified health claim.
What is a Qualified Health Claim?
A qualified health claim is a claim made about the health benefits of the nutrients and/or ingredients found within a food product. Although a Qualified health claim must be backed by scientific evidence, it has a bit more flexibility than an Authorized Health Claim. A qualified health claim gives the manufacturer the ability to state that their product ingredients can have a positive impact upon one’s health when consumed. This labeling is particularly enticing to consumers during a time of global pandemic where overall health is a major concern. Stating the benefits of your products can make all the difference in a consumer’s choice to purchase your food product over another.
What Do Qualified Health Claims Look Like?
To get a better idea of how to make a Qualified Health Claim, it is important to know how they are structured. A Qualified Health Claim cites the ingredient that contains the health benefit and alludes to the source of reference for the health benefit claim and states the disease that it can help improve. Here’s a few examples:
“Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that whole grains (three servings or 48 grams per day), as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus type 2.”
“Scientific evidence suggests that the consumption of folic acid can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects. The FDA does not endorse this claim, however, public health authorities recommend that women who are pregnant consume 0.4 mg folic acid daily from fortified foods or dietary supplements or both to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.”
Structuring a Qualified Health Claim
A Qualified Health Claim is essentially made up of 4 parts:
- The statement of suggested scientific evidence (which must be factual)
- A disclaimer
- The nutrient or ingredient the claim is referring to, with appropriate values and circumstances under which it will positively impact health
- The disease claim related to the “healthy” ingredient in the food product
Using this new understanding, let’s take the first claim stated in our examples above and break it down.
- Statement suggesting scientific evidence: “Scientific evidence suggests…”
- The disclaimer: “…but does not prove…”
- The nutrient or ingredient the claim is referencing with appropriate values and circumstances under which the said ingredient with positively impact health: “that whole grains (three servings or 48 grams per day), as a part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet…”
- The disease claim related to the consumption of the healthy ingredient in the food product: ” may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus type 2.”
Once you understand how these claims are structured, you can then look at your ingredient list in an entirely new light. Hiding in nearly every ingredient list are opportunities to market the health benefits of your product to the health-conscious consumer.
Getting Assistance with Claims
Now that you know more about how to unearth a claim and structure it appropriately to appeal to your target audience, you might feel a bit apprehensive in executing this new knowledge. Or you might just simply not know where to start. We understand thoroughly the substantial difference between the creation of a product and the analysis of the nutrients within the ingredients. Heck, it’s why we exist. That being said, this is why our nutrition team is available to walk you through things like health claims. Collaborating with our staff Dietitians and Nutritionists takes the pressure off of you as the manufacturer to derive and structure these claims based on your product ingredients. Our team can easily analyze your product recipe and present you with any available content claims that you would like to make about your product in the proper structure so as to pass any FDA assessment.