Weight management sector to benefit from economic recovery

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Obesity

The wellness revolution may have done little to trim the waistlines of American men, women and children, but economic recovery should speed the process according to a new market report from Packaged Facts.

“Industry experts and Packaged Facts agree that healthy eating is a solid measure of consumer confidence,”​ said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “As the economy improves, consumers will once again focus on health and wellness priorities.”

The researcher estimated the global market at $18bn for weight loss foods and drinks including weight loss bars, snacks, drinks, frozen meals and desserts.

Two thirds of US adults and one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese, Packaged Facts said. Adult obesity rates had increased 48 percent between 1988 and 2008; 72 percent in the case of teenagers and children.

Nearly 40 percent of American adults are watching their diet to remove or maintain weight – or about 85m people. Of that 40 per cent, about 28 per cent were trying to lose weight; 13 percent maintain weight.

A shift toward adding functional ingredients to deliver satiety and other weight management benefits was occurring, away from the more traditional removal of nutrients like fat, sugar and salt, but these remained popular.

It was estimated the cost of obesity healthcare could balloon to $344bn by 2018 – or 21 percent of total healthcare spending.

Portion control diets, exchange diets (where select servings from different food groups are selected and which Weight Watchers is a form) and liquid replacement products are gaining in popularity, Packaged Facts said.

While low-fat and low calorie diets retained their allure, the market for satiety products was developing, with ideas like body toning and body sculpting gaining currency outside of the sports world.

“One of the hottest trends in weight management is developing foods and beverages that provide ‘satiety, or hunger satisfaction,”​ the report stated.

“Such products contain ingredients that enhance feelings of pleasant fullness after eating, helping dieters prevent overeating and/or constant snacking between meals.”

“The concept of body shaping or body sculpting is moving mainstream from its roots in the sports nutrition market. Such products help reduce body fat and help build lean body mass and/or increase muscle tone. Fat mass reduction can also be targeted to specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen or the thighs. Many of these new products contain the functional ingredient conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).”

Packaged facts highlighted three types of weight management ingredients:

  • those that suppress appetite and/or promote satiety
  • those that boost metabolism
  • those that inhibit digestion of macronutrients (e.g., fats or carbohydrates) or their conversion into body fat.

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