towards weight management
Over the last few years, consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding their weight have shifted significantly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights highlight a 5% increase between 2019 and 2021 of consumers who deem themselves overweight. As weight management has become a key concern for many consumers today, the food, beverage, and supplement industries recognize the importance of addressing this demand. Brands must continue to tailor more products towards addressing healthy weight loss.
Some of the ways brands have responded to weight management is by offering products which include low-calorie and reduced-sugar food and beverages, dietary supplements, and the incorporation of functional ingredients, such as protein and natural sweeteners into their offerings. These kinds of products align with consumers' weight loss goals and offer convenient and healthier alternatives to provide holistic weight management solutions.
A large proportion of consumers have adopted a proactive, health-conscious approach to their weight management. Some of these proactive behaviours around losing weight focus on an increased intake of fresh fruit and vegetables (73%), exercising and being more active (63%), and reducing the intake of dietary evils, such as sugar (62%). Alternatively, consumers have been increasing their intake of protein as a means to lose weight. This highlights that weight management plans no longer consist of the avoidance and moderation of ‘bad’ ingredients, but more so, focus on an increase of functional and fresh ingredients as part of a balanced diet.
In addition, our findings suggest that the majority of consumer motivation to lose weight derives from the desire to support and address their health and wellbeing for the long-term, as opposed to losing weight for aesthetic reasons. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ market research reveal that 80% of global consumers think a healthy weight is important for overall health and wellbeing, as opposed to physical appearance. This further highlights a proactive approach by holistically addressing long-term health before symptoms occur.
Ingredient lists and transparency
Consumers have become increasingly attentive to the ingredient listings on food, drink, and supplements. This includes monitoring the consumption of sugar, calories, and protein. For instance, on the average day, 53% of global consumers monitor their consumption of sugar. This indicates that brands must continue to inform consumers of the nutritional content of products in the most clear and concise way.
While ingredients shape perceptions of value around food, drink, and supplements, consumers expect to see clinically-proven, scientific evidence on products to gain maximum transparency and trust. Consumers are skeptical of health-washing, due to over-exaggerated claims that can be disguised via complex labelling. As a result, brands must ensure that product labeling is kept clear and concise, so that it is easy to digest and convenient for consumers who want to check the nutritional labeling on a product.
Nutritional supplements offer essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to contribute to an overall balanced diet. These supplements can be used to contribute to weight management. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights demonstrate an increase of 7% of consumers who are using nutritional supplements to address weight loss since 2019. However, it is important to note that despite this increase, only one in five global consumers who say they are on a diet have used supplements to lose weight. This suggests that consumers are conscious of the side effects of supplements, and feel as though these products are too expensive. To address this, brands in the supplement sector should continue to educate about the formulation of products, and build trust around the benefits of supplements.
The next steps for the weight management market
Overall, brands in the weight management sector must recognize the importance of offering a diverse range of products to address this area of health and wellness. Brands should continue to educate consumers about the benefits of their products and how they can support weight management goals by highlighting nutritional information, but not compromising on the taste and convenience of products.
In addition, it is essential that brands align their prices with cost sensitivity. In today’s recessionary climate, consumers are placing greater value on cost and in some cases, prioritizing this over weight management and health claims. To address this, brands must promote maximum efficacy and convenience, by offering products with multifunctional benefits to enhance perceptions of value, and importantly, ensure that prices align with the current cost-of-living crisis.
Parents understand that the maintenance of their child’s health and wellness is their responsibility; however, many parents face various challenges when trying to do so. FMCG Gurus findings highlight that sugar is the ingredient that parents are most conscious about in food and drink products, with 74% of consumers concerned by sugar content in products. As children are typically drawn to sugary indulgences, parents are concerned by the link between obesity and diabetes and the hidden sugars in products.
Many parents believe that the complex labeling used by brands disguises ingredients. As a result, brands should ensure that nutritional labeling is made clear and simple for parents so that they are able to unpick the nutritional profile of products within seconds.
References and notes
This article is based on FMCG Gurus: Early Life Nutrition: Challenges & Recommendations in 2023.