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Consumers reject ‘weight management’ for more positive messages: Mintel

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 03-Jul-2012

Consumers are shifting toward positive messages of overall ‘health management’ and away from more negative associations of weight management, according to a presentation by trend experts at market research organization Mintel at IFT in Las Vegas last week.

‘Everything in moderation’ is a message that consumers are familiar with, and one that most agree is a sensible approach to health and wellness. In a Mintel survey, almost 90% of US consumers agreed with the statement ‘living a healthy life is all about moderation’, far outranking all other statements regarding attitudes toward health and weight.

Director of innovation and insight at Mintel Lynn Dornblaser told attendees that Mintel has periodically asked consumers to give their reasons for watching their weight, and the market researcher has seen a fundamental shift over time. The trend has moved toward maintaining weight and a focus on overall health, rather than losing weight.

 “Wellness has become a part of people’s everyday lives,” Dornblaser said. “Six percent of consumers say they adhere to a strict diet, but 42% say they strive for balance. I think that tells the story.”

From a product perspective, satiety is a growing area for product claims, and new products increasingly are touting the benefits of fiber and protein in particular for longer lasting satiation.

“We are beginning to see a shift away from the negatives of dieting and a shift towards some of the positives of fullness,” she said.

UK-based director of innovation and insight at Mintel David Jago added: “We are seeing the idea of satiety expanding beyond snacks and cereal bars. We are seeing an increase in fiber-rich and fiber-dense foods just about everywhere. …The idea of fuller for longer is a message that does seem to resonate with consumers.”

He also said that companies are moving away from ‘minus’ claims, such as low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt, with a focus on the positive ingredients or properties of new foods and beverages.

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