European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA)
Services provided: European Union regulation, political consulting, public affairs consulting, public relations, crisis communications, monitoring and intelligence gathering, integrated campaign strategy, secretariat services, research and insight, reputation management and media training
ESSNA is a trade alliance representing the specialist product sector of the sports nutrition industry in Europe. It comprises members who have sales and marketing interests in specialist sports nutrition products in most of the member states of Europe.
The organisation was established to ensure that potentially threatening EU legislation on sports supplements was amended and to develop the image and profile of the sector. The legislation would have set unnecessarily low maximum permitted levels for popular products as well as set up a positive list system for particular ingredients. The latter would have meant that some existing products would have needed removing from the shelves, and that new product development and innovation would have been stifled.
As a new organisation it was first of all vitally important to build profile and to develop key messages. The Whitehouse Consultancy helped ESSNA members understand the European regulatory environment and supported them in putting together position statements on issues of import.
Once the ESSNA position had been agreed it was important to communicate this quickly to senior UK officials, Ministers, UK and European Parliamentarians and officials in the European Commission.
ESSNA explained the flaws in the draft regulation and ensured that pressure was brought to bear from a range of decision-makers prior to the European Commission deciding on its own work plan. The aim was to demonstrate to the Commission that it would have a political problem if the flawed legislation were brought forward as drafted.
By winning the support of the UK government and key MEPs as well as pressure from within the UK Parliament ESSNA ensured that the proposal was stopped pending industry agreement. ESSNA is now working with the wider industry movement to ensure that any legislation which is brought forward is proportionate and not damaging to small and medium sized enterprises.
In the years since ESSNA was formed, it has developed into a prominent trade association that is now the voice of the responsible sports nutrition industry within the EU and member state policymakers. As well as working to ensure any legislation brought forward is proportionate and not damaging to the industry and public, Whitehouse also provides public relations support to ESSNA and operates a non-compliance campaign for ESSNA to protect consumers and improve the reputation of the sector
“ESSNA was formed to represent the specialist manufacturers across Europe, lobbying the European Commission and the member states to ensure that the proposed sports nutrition directive accurately reflected the needs of all the athletes that currently use these products. This was seen as a mammoth task and we would not have got off the ground without Chris Whitehouse and his team’s expert advice, direction and support. With their assistance we are now making progress that at the outset of this work seemed almost unattainable. On behalf of all the companies that ESSNA represents I would like to extend our thanks.”
Dr Adam Carey, Chairman, European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance