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Low and Light Food and Drinks - International Trends and Developments in Weight Control

  • ID: 44920
  • February 2004
  • Region: Global
  • 260 pages
  • Leatherhead Research Ltd.
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In recent years, the emphasis in the health arena of the international food and drinks market has primarily been focused on functional foods and products with active added ingredients. As a result, there has tended to be somewhat lower levels of innovation in the low-fat and low-calorie foods markets than were seen in the 1990s.

However, more recently, with growing obesity levels causing concern around the world, interest in low and light foods has been renewed. At the same time, the growing popularity of alternative dieting methods, including the well-known Atkins diet, has raised further issues regarding weight control and health. In light of all these issues, we have published a new report looking at the reduced-fat and calorie foods market around the world and assessing future directions for the weight control category as a whole.

This report presents background information on obesity, popular diets, and UK consumer attitudes to weight control before turning, in more detail, to the international markets low-fat, low-calorie and, now, low-carb foods.

The report features:
- Market sizes and trends in the low-fat and low-calorie sectors
- Discussion of future READ MORE >

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- Executive Summary: a quick-read summary of the report’s main findings

- Market Drivers and Influences: analysis of key market drivers, such as obesity levels, diets, and consumer attitudes to weight control.
This section also includes the results of original consumer research, which was conducted in the UK. This was undertaken in order to assess uptake of low and light foods among British consumers, as well as attitudes to dieting in general and, in particular, to the Atkins Diet and low-carbohydrate regimes.

- International Overview: a more detailed overview of the report’s findings and assessment
of the international situation, including:
Market Trends
Country Summary
Sector Summary
Manufacturers and Brands
Future Trends and Prospects

- Individual analyses of the markets in selected countries are then presented, including:
US
UK
France
Germany

For each of these, an initial summary of the nature of the market, product coverage and trends is followed by more detailed sections on Market Trends and Manufacturers and Brands

Tables & Charts
The 260-page report contains almost 190 tables and charts, including:

- Levels of Overweight and Obesity Around the World
- Summary of Selected Popular and Organised Diets
- World: Low and Light Foods Market, 1998-2003e
- World: Per Capita Expenditure on Low and Light Foods, 2002
- US: Low and Light Market Penetration Levels in Selected Dairy Categories, 1998-2003e
- US: Low-fat Dressings Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- UK: Low and Light Bakery and Snacks Market by Sector, 2002
- UK: Low-fat Cheese Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- Germany: Low-fat Milk Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- France: Low-fat Crisps Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- Spain: Diet Jams Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- Italy: Sugar-free Confectionery Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- Australia: Healthy Frozen Ready Meals Market Summary, 1998-2003e
- Australia: Penetration of Low and Light Foods Market by Broad Type, 2002
- UK attitudes to the Atkins diet by Demographic Group
- UK Slimming Habits

Facts & Figures

In addition to concerns over the very high levels of overweight and obese people in many western markets, there is also a strong worry about the rate at which these levels are increasing and the rapid growth has even been described as an epidemic. In the US, for example, the percentage of obese adults rose from 21.5% in 1999 to 23% in 2001 and is now nearer 24%, while, in the UK, prevalence of obesity rose from 20% in 1999 to 22% in 2001.

The first of the major diet regimes to be adopted by a large number of people was probably the Weight Watchers diet, founded in the early 1960s and still going strong today. More recently, however, a flood of different and varied diets have reached the public consciousness, none more so than the Atkins Diet, which has been particularly successful.

The market for low and light foods in the seven countries under review in this report was valued at a total of USD63.2bn in 2002. The US is by far the largest market in the world, with sales of USD44.2bn, or 70% of the total.

Growth is estimated to have been around 2% per annum between 1998 and 2002 but, using constant exchange rates, this is somewhat higher at nearer 3% per annum.

It is estimated that, over the next 4 to 5 years, sales of low and light foods are likely to continue to increase at levels of around 2-4% per annum. This would put the market in the seven countries under review at a forecast USD75.5bn in 2008.

Low and light foods are generally most established in the dairy products and beverage markets of the world, with penetration remaining much lower in the bakery and snacks and prepared foods sectors. In terms of growth, however, the dairy and beverage markets are more mature and, in the more developed countries, it is the bakery and snacks and prepared foods sectors that are seeing best growth in low and light products.

Recently published sources suggest that sales of low-carb food and drinks in the US were valued at USD400m in 2002(excluding low-carb meal replacement bars and covering all outlets including health food outlets as well as more mainstream stores). This was set to reach USD830m in 2003, demonstrating the rapid growth of the category in America and signalling the potential for this market in other countries around the world.

Unlike many other food and drinks markets around the world, brand globalisation has yet to really penetrate into the low and light foods market. The obvious exception to this is Weight Watchers, which began life as a dieting regime and then expanded into the finished foods market as a range of branded low and light goods. Today, this brand is available in numerous markets around the world.”

UK consumers were asked about their attitudes to their own weight and their dieting habits. While other research has shown that 62% of UK consumers are overweight, a total of 72% of our respondents felt that they should lose some weight. However, 31% of these are doing nothing to bring this about and have made no changes to their diet. This still leaves a very high level of 41% of consumers who have made a conscious change to their diet in order to address the issue of weight.

Interestingly, the health warnings of the Atkins diet appear to have reached consumers, with almost 80% of consumers thinking that it is unhealthy long-term. However, almost 70% of consumer also agreed with statements including the phrase “I believe it works.” The most popular response, from almost 61% of consumers, was "I believe it works but still think it could be unhealthy long-term.”

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

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