About us

Our mission, our people, our partnerships, our history

Our Mission

What we do

The HFMA is a not-for-profit, but financially sound, organisation that was founded in 1965 to represent the interests of manufacturers and suppliers of specialist health products in the UK. It is the authoritative and responsible voice for the UK natural products industry and its members play a crucial role in helping to improve public health. Our c. 150 member companies, approximately 75% of which are SMEs, include many suppliers of specialist food supplements and health foods. The HFMA works effectively to represent the interests of the industry at all levels of the legislative, regulatory and Parliamentary process, and works proactively with other industry associations to achieve this aim.

How it works

Subscriptions are fair, based on turnover, and the organisation is fully-democratic. Each full member has one vote, regardless of size, and can stand for Council. The HFMA supplies sound information and advice to members, and promotes positive communications and public relations, training and education and the highest quality standards of products and services.

Working for good

The HFMA operates three long-standing codes of practice – for GMP, Labelling & Advertising and Upper Safe Levels for Supplements – to ensure that member companies adhere to high standards and offer good quality, safe products to UK consumers. As such, we welcome proportionate and clear legislation designed to ensure that consumer choice is informed by responsible and accurate information. The HFMA’s Code of Advertising Practice was formed in 1978, and the first label and advertising advisory service in 1998. The Code sets out the regulatory framework for specialist health products, and is administered by the HFMA’s Primary Authority-accredited CLEAR CHECK™ service.

Collective Vision, Collective Voice

The HFMA takes the lead in representing the views of the natural health products industry to key decision makers and influencers in both the UK and Europe. We have regular briefing and discussion meetings with the UK Government; MPs from all political parties; regulatory and enforcement agencies like the FSA (Food Standards Agency), MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), RD (Regulatory Delivery) the European Commission, MEPs and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

Who we are

The people behind the scenes at the HFMA.

Our History

The HFMA was created in 1965 and so has been the Voice of the Natural Health Industry for over 50 years.

Representing Our Members & Industry

It is the HFMA’s role to influence legislators, regulators and key opinion formers in maximising freedom of choice and access to safe, high quality natural health products and, in this task, we have become by far the most active Member State trade association in the EU.

The HFMA is proactively working on behalf of its members to achieve the best possible outcome from Brexit, and is thinking hard about what opportunities may exist for members. It is an active participant in the Defra/FDF Brexit Roundtable initiative, and is working closely with other sector groups.

The recent HFMA Brexit seminar brought together a number of key speakers , including three officials from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU), the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Defra, which is leading on Brexit for the UK food and drink industry. We also work closely with Rosie Cooper MP, recently re-elected to the Health Select Committee, and Chair of the ‘Micronutrients and Health’ All-Party Parliamentary Group, for which the HFMA provides the Secretariat.

Careful planning helps us achieve our goals in the most effective way. In addition to our meetings and briefings, our issues often attract influential Parliamentary Questions, Motions, Adjournment Debates and lobbying by MPs and Peers and, in Europe, by MEPs. Where necessary, we seek expert legal advice and action or canvass media support. And we often work in tandem with other organisations – trade and consumer – that share complementary objectives.

In this way, the HFMA is truly The Voice of the UK Natural Health.

Working Partnerships

Being the Voice of UK Natural Health, we recognise the power of amplification, so invest time and resource into our partnership working.

With insights gained from our membership of the EHPM, and by having our fingers on the pulse of many industry issues, we are pleased to support/work with

We also work with the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance, Forum of Private Business, European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance, International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations.

Micronutrients and Health APPG

The HFMA manages the Secretariat for this Parliamentary group, which aims to help form strategies in Parliament around the vital role of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in helping people to be healthier.

The group has already held nine successful meetings on the subjects of Pre-Conception Nutrition, Improving Teenage Nutrition, The Global Burden of Chronic Disease, Nutrition and Healthy Ageing of the Brain and Nutrition, Immunity in older people, Cardiovascular Health, Potential Healthcare Cost Savings from Food Supplements, Fortification of Flour with Folic Acid and Iron Status in Young Women.

In the current post-pandemic and post-Brexit environments, and all of the challenges those bring, it will be more important than ever for our members’ interests to have a voice in Westminster.

Our Primary Authority Coordinated Partnership

Primary Authority (PA) is a statutory scheme which enables a business to form a legally recognised partnership with a single local authority.The scheme been extended to allow for co-ordinating of partnerships between businesses that have common regulatory issues, such as members of Trade Associations like the HFMA.

HFMA member companies can enjoy the benefits of this arrangement at no additional cost, and the PA partnership enables us to seek Assured Advice for our members on issues of potentially problematic significance and, as part of an appropriate due diligence defence, a company is able to rely on the advice provided by its PA.

Currently there are 103,400 businesses in the UK benefitting from Primary Authority partnerships, and of this 100,183 are in Coordinated partnerships like the one that HFMA members enjoy.