Nutrition claims

Nutrition claim means any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties due to:

The energy (calorific value) it

• provides
• provides at a reduced or increased rate or
• does not provide

The nutrients and substances that it

• contains
• contains in reduced or increased proportions or
• does not contain.

Permitted nutrition claims are described in the Annex to the Regulation on nutrition and health claims and in its Amendments. An up-to-date list of nutrition claims is provided on the web site of the European Commission.

Claims likely to have the same meaning for the consumer as the claims listed in the Annexes to the Regulations are also permitted. Evira has collected examples of claim wordings that it considers to have the same meaning. Operators who use some other wordings must verify that the wording has the same meaning for the consumer.

The use of a nutrition claim always requires the indication of the nutritional information. Nutrition declaration shall be made according to reguirements in the regulation (EC) No 1169/2011 on food information to consumers article 30.


Preconditions for use of nutrition claims

As concerns nutrition claims, the Regulation defines the required content of the nutrient in the food for a nutrition claim to be made.

  • For example, a claim that a food is a source of fibre may only be made where the product contains at least 3 g of fibre per 100 g or at least 1.5 g of fibre per 100 kcl.

  • A claim that a food is a source of a vitamin or mineral may only be made where the product contains at least 15% of the reference value of the daily intake as set out in the Annex to the Labelling Regulation.

  • Similarly, the claim ‘high in’ may only be made where the product contains at least 30% of the daily intake reference value.

If no daily intake reference value has been defined for the nutrient, the claim ‘contains a nutrient or another substance’ is to be applied. Although no specific limit values have been defined for these nutrients as preconditions for use, the other conditions of the Regulation on nutrition and health claims shall be fulfilled.

The operator must demonstrate the fulfilment of the requirements of the Regulation on nutrition and health claims. This includes presenting proof of that the substance has been shown to have a beneficial effect and the substance is contained in the product in a sufficient amount. A scientifically recognised beneficial effect can be based on e.g. EFSA's opinions.

Where the name of the substance refers to its function or health effect, it is a health claim (e.g. antioxidants, probiotics).

Claims not considered nutrition claims

A statement referring to the qualities or quantities of a nutrient does not constitute a nutrition claim in so far as such information is required under other legislation.

Labelling regarding constituents, which have or have not been used in the manufacture of the product, and labelling that describes the properties of constituents, is not considered a nutrition claim either:

  • sweetened (note that claims ‘sugar-free’, ‘no added sugars’ and also ‘without added sugar’, on the other hand, are nutrition claims)
  • unsweetened
  • sweetened with Xylitol/fructose
  • no fat used in manufacture
  • does not contain milk constituents
  • milk-free
  • additive-free
  • preservative-free

 ‘Lactose-free’, ‘low lactose’, ‘gluten-free’ and ‘very low gluten’ are not health claims, but fall under regulations pertaining to dietary products and, in the future, consumer information.