The first annual "Marketing health functionality - export tactics
for US success conference" will take place in Toronto on December
10th. Organized by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
(AAFC), the event will focus on opportunities for Canadian players
within the rapidly growing US market for functional health
"The market is ripe for this type of conference
as exporting to the US, although close in proximity to Canada,
offers many unique challenges for Canadian companies to
overcome…," said Rune Nilssen, partner with Strategro
International, a consultancy helping to organize the
The one-day Toronto conference will discuss how Canadian companies
- particularly those based in the heavily populated province of
Ontario - can benefit from opportunities in the US market. The
event will feature presentations and case studies from industry
experts, inward investment representatives from the US, as well as
successful Ontario-based companies.
"Combined with a vibrant entrepreneurial community, Ontario is
also rich in raw materials, science and technology so many critical
pieces are in place to create a solid natural health products
sector - this event will further help shape the industry,"
said John Kelly executive director of MaRS Landing, also partnering
with AAFC to present the conference.
However, approaching the US market has traditionally been easier
for Canadian companies than vice versa, given the somewhat trickier
nature of laws governing the functional food and nutraceutical
categories North of the border.
The Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD), a division of
Health Canada has regulations covering herbal remedies, homeopathic
and traditional medicines, probiotics, amino acids and essential
fatty acids, all of which have to be issued with a license before
they can be sold.
The allocated natural health products number must be printed on
product packaging. However there has been some confusion over the
jurisdiction of the NHPD, since a health claim based on ingredients
means a product is a 'natural health' product - even though it may
also be marketed as food or drink.
Health Canada recently put the processing of these food and
beverage license submissions on hold while the NHPD and the Foods
Directorate grapple over which jurisdiction such products fall
In the past, the Canadian industry association Food &
Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) has singled out functional foods
as a potential savior of the country's manufacturing sector, but
cited a heavy regulatory environment as seriously obstructing
In the absence of reforms, FCPC said Canadians could face a lack of
access to innovative products being developed and sold in markets
around the world.