TDMR Europe – rebranding and building a reputable trade association
Total Diet and Meal Replacements Europe – rebranding and building a reputable trade association
Service provided: EU and UK regulatory expertise, public relations and media engagement, events management, crisis communications, and social media support
Total Diet & Meal Replacements Europe (TDMR Europe) – formerly known as the European Very Low Calorie Diet Industry Group (www.tdmr-europe.com) – is a trade body for manufacturers and distributors of formula diet products, including total diet replacement products (TDRs) and meal replacement products (MRPs), set up to campaign for appropriate policy and legislation for slimming foods. TDMR Europe members operate throughout Europe, providing a range of weight loss and weight management programmes designed for the overweight and obese, which, combined with conventional foods, behavioural change and a stepped programme of increased physical activity, help people lose and then maintain their weight.
The Whitehouse Consultancy had supported the VLCD Industry Group (VLCD IG) in its EU and UK engagement for over a decade. In that time, we established numerous supportive working relationships with high-profile officials across all European institutions, the UK Government Departments and other key Member States, as well as representatives from other bodies, including other trade associations in the food and health sectors.
As part of the strategy, Whitehouse recommended the IG’s rebrand to encourage membership growth and further raise awareness of members’ products and programmes, while continuing to work towards a favourable regulatory and policy environment for members.
In 2018, an integrated communications campaign was implemented, resulting in the rebirth of the IG into TDMR Europe and positioning the trade body as the voice of the industry.
Over the years, the trade association’s work has largely focused on regulatory issues, which remain key for the development of the sector. As part of the rebrand, the work of the trade association was expanded to allow the group to partake in the general public health debate surrounding obesity and further promote total diet replacement products (TDRs) and meal replacement products (MRPs), with the aim of establishing the products as trustworthy alternatives to tackle obesity and related diseases and to further cement the group as the thought leader and industry representative.
The strategy included:
- New name, logo and website were created as a means to better reflect the members’ products, programmes and legislative environment.
- A comprehensive set of social media activities was put in place to raise the group’s profile within the industry;
- Ongoing activity focused on successfully defending the sector from over-restrictive regulation;
- Comprehensive regulatory work with regards to enhancing the visibility of TDMR Europe among policy makers at the European Union level;
- Development of effective relationships with Member States to address and resolve legislation pertaining to TDRs and MRPs, and obtain support for the resolution of outstanding (and future) regulatory issues detailed above;
- Intensive engagement with the UK government relevant departments on issues related to Brexit and its impact on the industry sector;
- Influence the wider public health debate surrounding obesity and its impact via events management, public campaigns and cross-promotional partnerships.
With the fast pace of technological and digital advances, it is important for organisations such as TDMR Europe to be able to react in a timely manner and accommodate to new changes. Consequently, the implementation of the new strategy led to the successful relaunch of the trade body, with the visibility of TDMR Europe significantly increased positioning the trade body as the main voice of the sector, able to represent the members at every level.
The enhanced visibility of the organisation and the sector is based on consistent work with policy makers, regulators, healthcare professionals, NGOs and consumers, and greater awareness of members’ products and their benefits. The new changes led to improving the understanding of the products, their use and impact on obesity, overweight and diabetes with educating policy makers on the importance of investing sufficient resources into treating the two thirds of the population who are already obese or overweight.
The work undertaken on behalf of TDMR Europe ensured an appropriate regulatory framework for the industry, minimising regulatory barriers and threats both within the European Union, the UK and at an international level. This led to an increased exchange of information, research and networking opportunities at the EU level and national level in the EU member states.
The Whitehouse Consultancy has extensive experience in events management, with the most recent event organised for TDMR Europe on 15th April 2019. The seminar ‘Healthcare cost reduction and improved quality of life with evidence-based weight loss in diabetes and osteoarthritis’ took place at the University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland, and gathered policymakers, researchers, academics, nutrition and health organisations to discuss the most recent innovations of the industry, including the latest findings of the DiRECT and DROPLET studies.
The Whitehouse Consultancy ensured that all the details for a successful event were put in place such as logistics, videography services, social media on the day and post-event engagement with the media outlets to further promote the outcome of the event.
A major success was securing the support of the World Obesity Federation as partners for the event and ensuring the SCOPE Accreditation for the seminar. Speakers included the University of Glasgow’s Mike Lean, Mikael Fogelhom from the University of Helsinki, Henning Bliddal from Denmark’s Parker Arthritis Institute in Copenhagen, and the University of Oxford’s Nerys Astbury and Seamus Kent. The seminar attendees also heard the personal testimony of Joe McSorley from Scotland who successfully used TDRs to lose and maintain weight and put his diabetes into remission.
The event was attended by both industry stakeholders and policymakers including a representative from the National competent authority and a key official working on the development of legislation affecting the sector. The event served as a great opportunity for the attendees to discuss how TDRs and MRPs can alleviate the suffering and economic cost of obesity related comorbidities, especially diabetes and osteoarthritis, but it also strengthened TDMR Europe’s stand as the main voice of the industry.
Please follow this link to see the main highlights of the event.