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
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
GCI began work this week promoting the new food range, which includes
chocolate bars and cereals, to both consumers and the healthcare
The target audience covers those who might use the products as part of a
daily diet or medical treatment and health professionals who would
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.