Birmingham backs Mondelez over BelVita energy health claims

BCC: "...satisfied that the claims on pack are justified."

Mondelez has been backed by the Birmingham City Council (BCC) over slow energy claims made for its BelVita breakfast biscuits after they were challenged in the UK.

“Birmingham City Council, as the Primary Authority for Mondelez, and independent food researchers have reviewed this evidence and as a result are satisfied that the claims on pack are justified," a BCC spokesperson told us.

The BelVita claim was based on a 2011 claim won in the EU by parent Kraft for breakfast biscuits before it spun the division off to become Mondelez. The approved claim read: “Consumption of products high in slowly digestible starch (SDS) raises blood glucose concentration less after a meal compared to products low in SDS.”

A Mondelez spokesperson said: “We are committed to explaining the benefits of the product in a way which is accurate and meaningful to consumers.”

The BCC spokesperson said the complaint was made in February this year which provoked its officers into several discussions with manufacturer Mondelez regarding the claims made on packs.”

The complainant also questioned the use of a broader claim about energy release but the BCC said the claims were within the law.

“Mondelez also make non-specific health claims on the pack, including ‘energy for the whole morning’, and they provided scientific evidence to back up these claims.”

The Mondelez spokesperson added: “We have spent more than 10 years conducting scientific research to develop BelVita breakfast biscuits and we are very proud to be one of the few products which have been awarded a health claim by the EU Regulation following a positive opinion of our clinical studies by EFSA.”

David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, previously told "Belvita Breakfast Biscuits have gone from being quite plain to quite indulgent, while maintaining health claims." 

"You have to at least mirror the positioning of these products. You've got to play the same game."

Mondelez launched BelVita ‘Breakfast Bites’ in the US in January.

The successful health claim dossier contained five human intervention studies that showed reduced post-prandial blood sugar spiking and therefore a longer and slower release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.

The EFSA opinion, issued under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR), stated products should contain at least 55% of available carbohydrates as starch of which at least 40 % should be ‘SDS’. 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion can be found here.

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