Weight management sector set to pile on the pounds (and dollars)

A new report titled "The Future of the Weight Management Market" from Leatherhead Food Research names two key challenges for the weight management sector.

The global weight management market will grow by 45 percent over the next five years, according to UK-based consultancy Leatherhead Food Research (LFR).

Publishing a new report – titled "The Future of the Weight Management Market" – LFR said the category was worth an estimated $7.3 billion worldwide in 2009, a figure that was set to rise by 6-8 percent per annum until 2014, when it would reach a value of $10.6 billion.

LFR said the weight management industry had been “reincarnated in various forms throughout the food industry over the years”. But now, it said: “The direction of the industry is shifting from ‘better for you’ products (diet and low and light foods) towards functional weight management products providing consumers with differentiation and added value.”

However, it said, for a functional weight management product to succeed it was important that it satisfied two key criteria. “General trends identify that a successful weight management product has to be both convenient and offer a benefit which can be felt quickly, if not immediately,” it explained.

LFR said there were now two key challenges for the weight management sector (LFR’s words):

  • Providing consumers with a clear benefit and message. A large array of products and ingredients means that manufacturers need to be clear about what their product delivers. Any benefit needs to be quickly felt or seen, otherwise consumers will become skeptical.

  • Achieving taste and texture for the mass market. The final product needs not only to deliver a clear benefit, but also to taste and feel satisfying, therefore encouraging repeat purchasing behavior.

LFI added: “Growth so far has largely been due to innovations within the bakery and cereals and the beverage markets, which currently hold shares of 33.5% and 28.4% respectively. Beverages and cereals, the latter of which includes cereal bars, remain the most prolific sectors for weight management claims across the globe. This is largely due to the functionality of the products – their ability to carry other ingredients well – as well as the fact that they are generally perceived by consumers as both convenient and healthy.”

For more information about the report, visit: http://www.leatherheadfood.com/weight-management.

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