Dispatches from SupplySide West

Fat burners garner weight management interest, but consumers remain skeptical: Analyst

By Stephen Daniells in Las Vegas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Weight management, Percent

One of the greatest areas of growth in the weight management category is fat burners, but consumers are also incredibly skeptical of the claims attached, says a leading industry analyst.

Tom Vierhile, Datamonitor told attendees at this year’s SupplySide West Expo in Las Vegas that the big growth area for supplements regarding claims is for calorie or fat burning. In 2007, calorie/fat burning was experiencing 1 percent growth, while in 2010 this had increased to 3 percent, he said.

However, such growth is not without its questioning. “According to Datamonitor research, this kind of claim has the highest degree of skepticism amongst consumers,”​ he said.

With about 65 percent of Americans classed as overweight or obese, the food industry is well aware of the potential for products for weight loss and management. The slimming ingredients market can be divided into five groups based on the mechanisms of action – boosting fat burning/ thermogenesis, inhibiting protein breakdown, suppressing appetite/boosting satiety (feeling of fullness), blocking fat absorption, and regulating mood (linked to food consumption).

Vierhile told a room full of attendees that Market Data puts the US market at $68.7 billion, a figure which includes services such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. The US market is currently growing at an annual rate of 6 percent, he added.

Results from an IFIC survey showed that 57 percent of consumers considered themselves overweight, while a further 8 percent said they were extremely overweight or obese. On the other hand, 31 percent of consumers considered themselves to be of ideal weight.

In addition, about 75 percent of the consumers surveyed globally said that they considered maintaining an ideal weight as important. Such statistics are translated into the desires by the average American to lose weight. Indeed, 81 percent of consumers said that they are either trying to lose weight or maintain it, said Vierhile.

‘Diet’ bad, ‘Zero’ good

According to data presented by Vierhile, there has been a move away from using ‘diet’ or ‘dieting’ on product labels. In 2005, over 50 products were launched claiming to be ‘diet’, with about 35 diet products in 2007, and less than 10 for 2010, he said.

On the flip side, calorie-related claims have trended up, with beverages leading the charge. “Beverages are three times more likely as foods to make calorie-related claims,”​ said Vierhile.

This is supported by data from Datamonitor that shows that calories are still the top consumer concern, with respect to food labels.

Satiety continues to receive a lot of attention from consumers, said Vierhile, however such interest does not necessarily translate into product sales, he said. Indeed, according to a recent survey of global consumers by Datamonitor, “consumers talk around satiety, and not about it”​.

“Hunger control will potentially resonate more effectively with consumers than satiety,” ​advised Vierhile.

Product innovation

Food and beverage manufacturers continue to innovate with weight management products, with recent notable launches around the world including a chewing gum product in Japan formulated with konjac powder which swells 200 times in the stomach.

Another innovation is for satiety yogurts, with both Yoplait and Danone launching such products in Australia and Spain, respectively, said Vierhile.

In the US, notable launches include the Ice Cube Diet - Hoodia Satiety Cubes, and Nutra3 Complex Weight Loss Strip Melts, with each strip reported to deliver about 250 milligrams of bioactives, including resveratrol, glutathione and SOD.

Weight Management 2010

State of the art weight management science and the latest trends will take center stage at Weight Management 2010 – the one-day virtual LIVE event for weight management for the food, beverage, and dietary supplements industries.

For more information and to register, please click here. http://weightmanagementshow.com

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