The global weight management category is estimated at more than €5bn globally and continues to demonstrate impressive growth as ‘globesity’ spirals.
The World Health Organization estimates there are 1.6bn overweight peoplein the world – about a quarter of its total population - with 400 million classified as obese.
In this climate LFI notes food manufacturers are moving away from traditional salt, sugar and fat reduction strategies built upon diet foods and dieting methods consumers were no longer interested in.
Food manufacturers were responding to consumer interest in ideas such as “hunger management”
“The ability of food to create feelings of fullness (satiation) and to delay the time in which hunger returns (satiety) is a key trend,” Leatherhead said.
Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) revealed there were 42 products launched in the first quarter of 2008, compared with just one in the first quarter of 2005.
Caring for obesity
LFI’s market research indicated consumers were largely ignorant of terminology like “satiety” even if they have an active interest in nutrition and the ideas that underpin satiety.
Manufacturers needed to be aware of falling into marketing traps that could disenfranchise consumers who “would be wary of trying products that were labelled with these words.”
Consumers viewed the state of fullness negatively as they related it with bloatedness and discomfort, so terms like “satisfying” were better than “filling”.
“Our research indicates that there is huge potential for products which help to control appetite, both as an aid to weight loss and weight management,” said LFI senior scientist, Sarah Hull.
“However UK consumers seem to be sensitive to the way in which satiety-enhancing products are described. Manufacturers must bear this in mind when positioning and marketing products so that they create rapport with consumers, using words such as satisfying and keeping hunger at bay, rather than using words with negative associations such as filling.”
LFI’s research indicated consumers demanded more of labels and so wanted to know how a product might have a satiating effect.
“Satiety claims, however they are presented, are classified in EU law as health claims,” said Kath Veal, LFI business Manager of regulatory services.
“Consumer research is important both for market success and to satisfy the legal requirement for consumer understanding. It is uncertain which foods and food ingredients will have satiety claims approved under new health claims legislation but what is clear is that scientific substantiation underpins such claims.”
LFI is conducting two ongoing studies into the effect of GI as well as wholegrain and high-fibre foods on satiety.
“In addition to finding out how full participants feel after each meal occasion, we are also interested in learning how what they eat affects how much they eat at the next meal,” said Hull.
“LFI has developed an electronic means of asking participants questions using pocket PC’s so that we can accurately gauge their reaction to the breakfast and lunch meals they will consume.”
The results are expected to be announced in early 2009.
LFI is hosting a conference on satiety and weight management on October 7.
Click here for more details.