Weight management market a mixed bag as SlimFast and Splenda slump and Trop50 and Thinkthin soar

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

PepsiCo's Trop50 range adds water and stevia to juice to slash calories by 50%
PepsiCo's Trop50 range adds water and stevia to juice to slash calories by 50%

Related tags: Nutrition

While there have been some standout successes - from PepsiCo’s Trop50 juice drinks to ThinkThin protein bars - growth in the overall weight management market is pretty sluggish, according to new research.

In its new report, Weight Management Trends in the US​, market researcher Packaged Facts says data from SymphonyIRI for the food, drug and mass merchandiser channel excluding Walmart (FDMx), reveals that some of the biggest brands in weight management had a pretty lousy year in 2012. 

Quaker-chewy-90-calorie-bars

Fiber One bar sales were down 8.3% in the FDMx channel in the 52 weeks to December 2, 2012 versus the same period in 2011; while sales of Quaker Chewy 90 calorie bars slumped 10.7%; sales of SlimFast bars dropped 25.8%; and sales of Kashi GoLean bars dropped 20.7%.

Meanwhile, sales of SlimFast meal replacements slumped 5.4%, Diet Coke dipped 2.1%, Diet Pepsi dropped 6%, Special K cereal dropped 4.6%, Lean Pockets frozen hand-held entrees dropped 5.9%, and ‘light’ yogurts from Dannon and Yoplait both posted declining sales.

On a more positive note, sales of Trop50 reduced calorie juices rose 19.7%; sales of Diet Snapple ready-to-drink teas were up 10.7%; sales of Thinkthin protein bars surged 50.2%; Atkins Nutritional bars rose 21.3% and Designer Whey’s ‘Biggest loser’ protein powders rose 21%.

Between 2008 and 2012, retail sales of weight management foods and beverages increased a bare 4%

Packaged Facts estimates that US retail sales of weight management foods and beverages through all retail channels reached $29.4bn in 2012, up 2.9% on 2011.

But over the past five years, it says, “weight management foods and beverages have been on a declining trend”,​ despite that fact that almost 70% of adults overweight or obese, and 28.9% say they are trying to lose weight, perhaps reflecting research from Euromonitor​ and Datamonitor​ showing that consumers are losing interest in 'diet' foods and just trying to eat more healthily.

“Overall, between 2008 and 2012, retail sales of weight management foods and beverages increased a bare 4%—or $1.1bn —resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just 0.1%.”

Atkins Nutritionals sees sales surge 21.7% in 2012

thinkThin Brownie Crunch High Protein Bar

The largest category within the meal replacement/diet aids market is meal replacement bars, with sales of $705m in FDMx channels in 2012 (+5.7% over the previous year).

The second-largest category, weight control candy/tablets, dropped 7.3% to $204m.

Finally, liquid/powder meal replacements came in third, at $189m (+ 4.6%).

Kellogg is the leading marketer of meal replacements for weight management, generating sales of almost $309m in 2012 in the FDMx channel via its Special K and Kashi GoLean brands, up 3.8% vs 2011.

In second place is Atkins Nutritionals, which rang up $254m in sales through the FDMx channel, a 21.7% gain over the previous year.

Click here​ to find out more about the report.   

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