A Magic Solution for Weight Loss?

Steve French, Chief Operating Officer

March 6, 2012

3 Min Read
A Magic Solution for Weight Loss?

Nearly half of American adults are interested in losing weight. This level of motivation is good news for countering the obesity epidemicand it is good news for marketers and manufacturers of products that can help them achieve their goals.

Why Lose Weight

A larger proportion of consumers say they want to lose weight for appearance (39 percent) than the proportion who want to lose weight for health reasons (30 percent). In both cases, women are significantly more likely to be pursuing weight loss than men, and age is also a factor.

Age and gender variations in the desire for weight loss are just the tip of the iceberg. Consumer interest in weight loss and motivation can vary by a number of descriptive factors, including educational attainment, income and geography, as well as mindset.Key Weight-Loss Nutrients

Over the years, consumers have developed an understanding of the nutrients associated with weight management and weight loss.

The top two ingredients consumers want to include in their diets for weight lossfiber and whole grainsare primarily recognized for digestive health benefits. Protein, while it appears third on the list, is most frequently associated with weight management as its primary nutrient quality, and superfruits are somewhat unusual in the wide variety of benefits consumers believe they support. Superfruit benefits are extremely versatile. They are seen as providing support for cancer prevention, the immune system, anti-aging, detoxification, heart health, cognitive/brain health and skin healthabove and beyond their benefit in weight management.

Popular Nutritional Concepts

Some ideas have traction and some dont. Among a group of 18 nutritional concepts tested in NMI research, portion control rose to the top of the list. Almost two-thirds of the general adult population (64 percent) agreed with the statement, I try to limit/control my portion sizes."

Other popular nutritional concepts (listed from high to low) include eating heart-healthy foods, eating whole-grain foods, seeking out foods that are high in fiber, seeking foods that provide energy and seeking foods that are high in protein. Some of these concepts may resonate more with certain segments of the population than others, but an overarching pattern highlights and reinforces the role of key nutrients.

Furthermore, one of the less popular nutritional concepts was the USDA food pyramid. Fewer than one in four consumers agreed they selected foods based on its guidelines. My Plate" is up next. Will it fare any better among consumers?

Always Consider the Basics

When selecting foods and beverages for their households, the general population rates the following three attributes as the most important: taste (72 percent), value for money (63 percent) and health/nutrition (56 percent).

When developing a product for weight loss, marketers should routinely revisit this triumvirate. Whether developing food, drinks or shakes or even a supplement, the golden rule, in American culture at least, is it cannot taste bad. Garlic and fish oil supplements are excellent case studies for this tenet. Once manufacturers discovered the negative tasteor aftertaste related to their products, refinements were made, and labels soon included pronouncements about the lack of fish burps" their particular product would induce.

About half of the adult population is interested in weight management, but this large proportion of the population is not monolithic in their motivations or characteristics. Digestive health nutrients, including fiber and whole grains, are seen as benefitting weight management as are protein and superfruits. Portion control is widely accepted, and My Plate has the potential to become a more useful paradigm for consumers than the pyramid. Its a new year and consumers are still searching for the magic solution.

Steve French, managing partner, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) has more than 25 years of strategic marketing, business development and management experience.

Learn more about global obesity trends globally, contributing factors, product categories of the weight management arena and new product opportunities during INSIDER's webinar, "Addressing Obesity with Weight Management Products"

About the Author(s)

Steve French

Chief Operating Officer, Natural Marketing Institute

As COO, Steve French ([email protected]) leads Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a strategic consulting, market research and business development firm specializing in the health, wellness and sustainability marketplace. He has over 30 years of related experience and insight into today’s consumer and market trends, and has pioneered a range of consumer databases to help clients navigate, identify and validate market opportunities. Prior to joining NMI, French spent 15 years at PepsiCo, Mars and Marriott.

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