GCI to launch new Novartis food line

The consumer health division of pharmaceutical giant Novartis has hired GCI Group on a budget of pounds 1 million to handle global PR for the launch of a range of ’functional’ foods. The account was won this week after a competitive pitch.

The consumer health division of pharmaceutical giant Novartis has

hired GCI Group on a budget of pounds 1 million to handle global PR for

the launch of a range of ’functional’ foods. The account was won this

week after a competitive pitch.



Functional foods, whose ingredients provide health benefits, are

expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the consumer food

market.



The range is being launched in the UK and Switzerland before going

global and GCI’s London office will run the account at this initial

stage.



GCI began work this week promoting the new food range, which includes

chocolate bars and cereals, to both consumers and the healthcare

sector.



The target audience covers those who might use the products as part of a

daily diet or medical treatment and health professionals who would

recommend them.



Novartis claims that the new products can be used to help ease digestion

and improve the health of the heart.



GCI chief executive Adrian Wheeler said the product range represented a

general consumer shift towards complementary health. The agency’s London

office has developed a core global programme to run in all markets,

although the promotional tools will be adapted according to each

country’s needs and implemented by individual GCI network offices.



GCI’s newly appointed European Healthcare vice-president Sebastien

Desprez, who is based in Dusseldorf, will coordinate the account once it

rolls out on a worldwide basis.



The UK functional foods market is valued at around pounds 150 million

and other companies either already in the market or expected to enter it

soon include Kellogg’s, Van den Bergh and St Ivel.



Functional food manufacturer Rasio earlier this year launched Benecol, a

cholesterol-reducing margarine which, despite being significantly more

expensive than normal margarine, has seen healthy sales.



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