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Changing life quality through nutrition

SNE is a European association representing
the views of its members, who are the dietetic
food industry associations of the EU Member States.

Special nutrition for special people

Understanding the specialised nutrition

Specialised nutrition: a lifeline for millions of Europeans

Throughout life, the specialised nutrition gives nutritional protection and support when people need it most: when they are vulnerable or ill; or at times when they have special dietary needs that foods intended for general consumption cannot meet.

90 per cent of Europeans will need to use specialised nutrition at some point in their lives. In many cases, these foods will be the sole source of nutrition - whether it be for a non-breastfeeding child, or a patient recovering from an operation.

Specially-formulated foods help people to get the right nutrition for their particular circumstances. They support recovery, health and well-being, and provide a lifeline for millions of Europeans.

Specialised nutrition: The right nutrition and the right support, throughout the circle of life


Breast milk is best for babies, as it contains the right balance of nutrients, hormones and antibodies

Infant Formula is the only suitable alternative for babies whose mothers are unable to, or choose not to breastfeed. It provides essential nutrients, but not all the protective factors found in breast milk. Follow-on formula is designed for infants over six months of age for use as part of a mixed weaning diet.


Complementary foods provide nutrition during the gradual change to a more varied diet
They help infants to learn about new tastes and textures, and are specially-formulated to be low in sugar and salt.


Around 25% of people struggle to maintain a healthy weight
Slimming foods - in the form of meal replacements - help people to lose weight safely and under supervision, and to avoid the dangers of irrational diet programmes.


People involved in intense muscular effort need the right nutrition
Foods for intense muscular effort (including sports nutrition) provide elite athletes and dedicated amateurs with vital nutrients before, during and after physical activity.


Coeliac disease affects between one and two per cent of the population
Dietetic foods for people with gluten intolerance help people to manage their condition under medical supervision and enjoy a wide range of foods that normally contain gluten.

  Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) provide nutritional support that cannot be given by normal food
People recovering from cancer treatment, elderly people suffering from malnourishment and children are some of the beneficiaries of FSMPs and support services.

Consumers: our top priority

Consumers depend on specialised nutrition like no other foods: they need to have absolute confidence in what they consume.

Companies affiliated to SNE national association members work closely with doctors, dieticians and nutritionists to provide the right products and the right support, as well as monitoring of patients.

Manufacturers also attach the greatest importance to food safety and quality and ensure that our products are of the highest standard.

A dynamic, innovative industry

An innovative industry providing essential products
The specialised nutrition sector is at the forefront of research and innovation in the food industry.
We are focused on employing innovation as a contributor to health, providing products of the highest standard and developing new products in line with consumer demand and scientific progress.
As a result, the specialised nutrition industry supports not only vulnerable consumers but also the continued growth of a research-based economy in Europe.

An important economic actor
The specialised nutrition industry has a wide range of member companies, from SMEs to some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world.

The sector is also a source of high-quality jobs, notably in research and development and food quality and safety. Like the rest of the food industry, the specialised nutrition sector has provided stable employment for thousands of people across Europe during the financial crisis.



About 5% of turnover is invested in research:

the food industry average is 0,53%

The annual turnover of the specialised nutrition industry across the European Union (including exports) is around €24bn


The specialised nutrition industry is a world leader:

each year, exports total around €8bn