Novartis launches global ‘beneficial’ foods range

Novartis Consumer Health, the consumer brand division of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, is launching a functional foods brand called Aviva.

Functional foods contain vitamins, minerals or enzymes which are intended to give health benefits.

Products in the Aviva range will include drinks, biscuits, breakfast cereals, pasties and snack bars.

The Aviva lines will be split into three areas of “benefit” – heart, bone and digestive health – which will be detailed on the packaging. All products will carry the Aviva brand name.

Grey Advertising will handle the Aviva launch, which is expected later this year, while CIA Medianetwork will handle the media account. The brand will launch in the UK and Switzerland before being rolled out to other countries.

Novartis Consumer Health marketing director Alastair Paton is hiring a marketing team for Aviva, and is recruiting a marketing manager and senior brand manager to handle its advertising, including TV, and develop brand positioning.

Novartis Consumer Health, which was formed from the merger of Novartis’ nutrition and over-the-counter businesses last year (MW November 26 1998), owns a range of brands, including Ovaltine, Nicotinell, Isostar and Savlon.

The Swiss company is investing heavily in the development of high margin functional foods.

At the same time, Johnson & Johnson has launched Benecol, a margarine which claims to lower cholesterol intake, and Nestlé and Unilever are believed to be preparing a launch of functional food brands.

A spokeswoman for Novartis says supermarkets are considering selling functional foods in separate areas rather than placing products alongside their “non-functional” rivals.

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