A alicament (or "medically", or "nutraceutical") refers to a food with pharmaceutical virtues . It can be a natural food containing active molecules or artificially enriched industrial foods. This designation can affect the trade in alicaments as it lays down several ethical and commercial issues . The segmentation used in the market is the one that distinguishes industrial foods (such as foods fortified with Omega-3, foods rich in active Bifidus, etc.) and natural medicines (such as herbal medicine or phytotherapy).
The market for alicaments seems to be slowing down after the rather successful years of the 1990s and 2000s. At issue are marketing abuses that promote the merits of products with health benefits far above the real effects on the body, pushing consumers to talk about a real "scam". In the United States, Danone was fined tens of millions of dollars for a consumer complaint that questioned the benefits of Actimel . European regulations ensure that advertising, which is considered misleading, is eradicated.
All the companies present on this market are heavy goods vehicles in the agri-food industry. Competition is therefore extreme in a global food market that amounts to more than $200 billion .
The challenge for the sector is to justify a price difference consumers (a Bifidus yoghurt is twice as expensive as a traditional yoghurt). Consumers, helped by the European authorities, are resisting. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), which is responsible for examining claim files, has examined 1,750 of the 4,200 claims retained, with 85% of negative opinions so far.
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