How We're Raising Industry Standards and Protecting Consumers in Mexico

2020 was a record year for the dietary supplements industry. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, the industry grew 14.5 percent globally, its highest growth in two decades.

We expect this trend to continue well into the coming years, as a recent survey of 13,000 people in 24 countries conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition found that 89 percent of the respondents are currently taking steps to improve their health. These steps include purchasing less unhealthy food, exercising more, and taking vitamins or supplements.

Latin America represents 7 percent of the global dietary supplements market, with Mexico being the second biggest local market, only after Brazil. Curiously enough, Mexico is neighbor to  the leading consumer of dietary supplements, the United States, with more than 30 percent of global consumption.

The Mexican population is developing a culture around dietary supplements, and nutrition education plays a significant role in achieving that goal. That is why Herbalife Nutrition engages in significant education efforts not only for our distributors and customers but also the general public, industry, as well as health professionals, and scientific communities.

My Career in Government Affairs in the Food Industry

I have been with Herbalife Nutrition for six years, but I have over 20 years of legal practice experience and have been involved in the food, beverage, and dietary supplements industry for the last 13 years. My role in Government Affairs is to create a regulatory environment for the Company’s science-backed products to be accessible by consumers. My work involves engaging with governments, business organizations, and trade associations.

In January 2021, I was elected President of the Board of the National Association of Food Supplements Industry (ANAISA) in Mexico, the country’s premier dietary supplements trade association, a position I will hold until 2023. As the President of the leading trade association, I strongly believe in sharing our Company’s scientific and technical expertise and best practices with our industry partners so that we can establish a high standard of quality and safety that ultimately benefits consumers.

The National Association of the Food Supplements Industry in Mexico

Herbalife Nutrition is a founding member of ANAISA, which encompasses leading dietary supplements companies and acts as a single voice for the industry before the regulatory authorities, consumers, and the general public. Its goal is to continuously improve regulation to foster consumer protection.

Some interesting facts about ANAISA and the dietary supplements industry in Mexico:

I’m excited to be leading AINSA at a critical time because we are working on developing a new, more comprehensive definition for dietary supplements in Mexico’s General Health Law.

Modernizing Dietary Supplement Regulation in Mexico

Currently, dietary supplement regulation in Mexico does not allow dietary supplements to bear claims on health or functional benefits related to nutrients. This is a huge setback for consumers as they are not able to make informed decision when purchasing these products.

For example, you can say: “This supplement represents 80 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C,” but you can’t say anything about how vitamin C helps support healthy immune system or how it’s a powerful antioxidant.

At ANAISA, we are trying to achieve two main objectives by working closely with the Congress and regulatory agencies:

  1. Broaden the definition of a dietary supplement to include a wider range of ingredients, including enzymes and bioactive ingredients, such as flavonoids, caffeine, or prebiotics, among others.
  2. Create a list of approved health benefit and functional claims on dietary supplements.

Achieving these two objectives will protect consumers from exaggerated or false claims and allow them to make informed purchase decisions.

Raising the Bar for the Industry and Protecting Consumers

Being part of ANAISA and having an executive role in it is inspiring because I get to work with market competitors as allies towards a common goal of raising the bar for the industry and protecting consumers.

At Herbalife Nutrition, there are more than 40 Government Affairs professionals in various countries that also work towards this goal by collaborating with national trade associations and regulatory agencies. I feel proud to be part of a talented group of professionals who share best practices in regulations.

The growth in the dietary supplements market is preliminarily driven by the paradigm shift toward preventive health management practices. Consumers are increasingly becoming more health-conscious and attracted to self-care management by proactively seeking out information on what the body needs and purchasing dietary supplements with health and functional benefits. It’s fulfilling to know that I am making contribution towards developing regulations that would give consumers greater access to high quality and safe dietary supplements.