My main expertise was built at Unilever R&D, where I worked in various international nutrition and regulatory roles. After becoming independent in 2019 I learned to switch quickly and work with my clients to further build strong brands based on credible communication to the consumer. I use my knowledge of the forcefield between marketing, science and regulations to be able to quickly assess risks, so that companies can proudly communicate about their products. I prefer to represent companies that are honest with themselves and their customers.
Past few years have sharpened my experience by working with great people. As interim (always >6 months) I have worked with Bonusan, Cosucra and Dawn Foods. Short consultancy allowed me to work with many companies like FrieslandCampina, LambWeston, Cosun, Givaudan, Eat Natural and quite some start ups. Also I like to work with partners like PS in Foodservice, QAssurance and EatWellGlobal. Furthermore I am a member of the NVLR and sometimes write an article for VMT, making sure that I am optimally connected to my precious network in Food Law.
What topics can I help on?
Consider my role an extra set of hands to fill in a temporary gap in your RA team with experience with multiple RA tasks European and globally, both B2C and B2B. Compliance checks, specification sign off, claim checks, notification submission, internal and external statements, etc are all well known to me.
For my work I am used to think in scenarios and I am always aware of the force field between business perspective and compliance. I know how to provide innovation teams with regulatory updates and identify early issues relevant to commercial opportunities.
With a large network and external awareness, I can also build and maintain external RA contacts, for example your branche organisations. I am often asked to run internal training programs on various topics. With RA never being a black and white science, my responsibility is to have rich peer discussions about internal positions. Sometimes that also results in sharpening the internal organisation for RA.
I prefer to work on the substantiation of claims and in particular nutrition and health claims. I have more than 15 years of experience with this and did quite some guest lectures on this topic at VU Amsterdam and Maastricht University. I know the European Claims Regulation EC 1924/2006 in detail and can apply that smoothly from practice so that you can make responsible claims that make clear what your product stands for.
I’m used to thinking in terms of risk assessments. This means that you call on me when unexpected problems with your claims arise and a claims dossier quickly needs to be available.
Better still, I avoid problems and we estimate in advance whether a claim might carry a risk. The chance that a claim is considered being misleading by the authorities is often small, but if such an accusation is made, the consequences can have significant impact. By having a good claim dossier in advance, you are perfectly prepared. In addition, this preparation also gives you the opportunity to make your claims even stronger and to further expand the concept.
Food choice logos
A food choice logo has a simple but important purpose: it helps the consumer to make the healthier choice. There are many different food choice logos in the world. In particular, the European discussion about the Nutri-Score food choice logo raises a lot of questions for companies. This logo has also been chosen in the Netherlands.
The combination of analysing a food product portfolio for a nutrient profile and subsequently looking for reformulation opportunities is very useful for food companies anticipating the implementation of a new food choice logo in a country.
More background: nice emails and customer experiences
“Working fully remote, Frans managed to create excellent relationships with key internal and external stakeholders. Frans brings a lot of valuable expertise in the Claims area, but also in Regulatory domains which are a bit outside his comfort zone, he manages to dive into these topics in an efficient, pragmatic and methodic way, always starting from the business needs.“
“I propose we plan a Telco on the short term, together with Frans van der Sman who is as Nutri-Score expert at the heart of the Nutri-Score developments from the perspective of the policy makers as well understanding the manufacturing and consumer side.”
“Thanks Frans, good to have this clear. With this kind of crucial information, I really wonder how claims have been made with us in the past.”
“Thank you for all your knowledge and thinking along on the structure/architecture of the claims. This brings us one step closer to our ambition.”
“Thank you for the workshop, you have a very calm voice and you convey the information very reliably. With the questions, I noticed that you first listen carefully and analyze. You felt our problem.”