A recent report has found that weight control foods now make up more than two per cent of food and drink sales worldwide. The sector is growing, with sales increasing by about 25 per cent since 1996.
The report, conducted by the Leatherhead Research Association in the UK, said that while health interest in recent years had focused primarily on the functional foods category, weight control foods are growing, and have risen by around 25 per cent since 1996. They now account for 2.4 per cent of global food and drink sales.
Overall, in 2000, sales of low-fat and low-calorie foods, as well as specifically targeted slimming aids, amounted to almost $33 billion in the US, Japan, Australia and the five major European markets.
Dairy remains a popular area of fat reduction and accounted for 39 per cent of the total value, while low-calorie, or sugar-free soft drinks represented 34 per cent.
The report notes that one of the fastest growing sectors of the market is the snacks category, including biscuits, cakes, confectionery and bagged snacks. Low and light versions of these products have been performing well in many countries, with modern consumers wanting to cut down on fat and calorie consumption while indulging at the same time.
It also found that fat reduction is becoming increasingly important at the expense of calorie reduction. Slimming foods are successful in areas where mainstream light foods have yet to penetrate significantly but in other countries they are suffering under competition from more appetising low and light products.
Low and light umbrella brands have performed well in this market, and the major brands are being joined in the market by low and light sub-brands in the retailer own-label sector.
In the future, the report predicts, the emphasis will remain on fat reduction, which benefits from a heart health message as well as one of weight control. There will be growing interest in functional foods which will increasingly lead to marketing on dual health platforms rather than a single focus on weight control. Advances in technology are also set to benefit the sector, as they produce greater taste and quality control in low and light foods.
The report can be found at www.lfra.co.uk