08 May 2019

Maintaining meal replacements for weight control on the market - A major impact in the fight against obesity and in the reduction of its social and economic burden

Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE), representing the manufacturers of the Slimming food products, welcomes the upcoming European Obesity Day on 18th May and the EASO Policy Conference 2019 – “The Social and Economic Impact of Preventing and Treating Obesity”.

The obesity epidemic has more than doubled in the last 30 years: the costs and consequences of obesity and obesity-related diseases represent an important economic and social burden for Europe. Obesity imposes significant economic costs on individuals, their families and EU member states. No less real are the social consequences for obese and overweight people: employment, discrimination, lower quality of life, depression etc.

Helping overweight and obese people to take back control of their lives cannot be achieved without providing recommendations to policy and decision makers and making appropriate tools available for healthcare professionals. Meal Replacements for weight control are one of the appropriate and safe tools available to consumers - and unlike fad diets - they guarantee substantial weight loss and play an important role for weight maintenance after weight loss without any deficiency in essential nutrients.

For many EU consumers, the availability of Meal Replacements for weight control has played a vital part in their weight loss and weight maintenance after weight loss, in a safe manner. Due to their very specific objective, sugars are replaced by sweeteners in Meal Replacements for weight control (for the sweet flavours). This is critical to limit insulin resistance for overweight and obese people. Nonetheless, the European Commission’s re-categorisation of food additives in EU law may lead to the ban of sweeteners in these weight loss and weight maintenance products.

SNE is very concerned by this potential impact on the latter which may lead to the disappearance of these products from the EU market. This would reduce the options available to consumers for weight loss and weight maintenance and cause further difficulties for obese and overweight consumers to maintain and comply with their diets. Consumers may be more inclined to choose less healthy alternatives which although tastier may not be in compliance with their balanced and nutritious weight loss programme.

President of SNE Professor Udo Herz comments: “For decades, meal replacements for weight control have been recommended by healthcare professionals for obese people willing to lose weight. These products are a safe and efficient alternative to bariatric surgery. We urge the Commission to consider these science-based facts to maintain these products on the market. Without sweeteners, no palatable sweet meal replacement products will be accessible to the consumers using them or to the healthcare professionals who recommend them to consumers.”

Ahead of the European Obesity Day, SNE calls upon the European decision-makers to maintain the use of sweeteners in Meal Replacements for weight control, ensuring the continuity of these foods on the European market.

For more information:
Aurélie Perrichet, SNE Executive Director ()


Notes to editors:
Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE) is the voice of the specialised nutrition industry across Europe. SNE members are the national associations of 19 European countries including a majority of EU states and their members are the companies producing tailor made dietary solutions for populations with very specific nutritional needs. These include: infants and young children, patients under medical supervision, sportspeople, overweight and obese consumers, and those suffering from coeliac disease.

Meal replacements for weight control are covered by Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1413 of 24 August 2016 amending Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children's development and health, laying down the requirements for the two authorised meal replacement for weight control claims, including specific composition criteria.