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Challenges in the Weight Management Market

Industry experts agree that the weight management market is expanding. However, the growth does not come without challenges. Consumer trends and activity, and formulation issues impact this segment of the industry.

Industry experts agree that the weight management market is expanding. However, the growth does not come without challenges. Consumer trends and activity, and formulation issues impact this segment of the industry.

Surveys and reports have found retail sales of weight management supplements are picking up. Data from an April 2013 SPINS report showed weight-management supplements recorded the largest incremental dollar growth among supplements—increasing 17 percent with sales at close to USD $120 million. Even with numbers up in this category, the economy has still impacted sales.

So, even in a tight economy, why is the weight-management market holding strong? Because the need is real. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported one-third of Americans, or 34.9 percent of the population, is obese. Numerous health risks are associated with being overweight or obese, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke among others, but weight loss is also associated with decreased risk. While maintaining a healthy diet and following an exercise plan are sure-fire ways to manage weight, sometimes consumers want additional help from nutrition, and that is where weight management supplements can help. Many weight management solutions are on the market, all with their own ingredients, challenges and efficacy. Manufacturers need to consider the fact that different consumers have different needs and weight loss goals. 

With a wide variety of consumers using weight management products, the challenge lies in how to deliver the product and keep consumers happy. Tablets and capsules are the traditional delivery form for supplements, though powders and functional foods are gaining more popularity.

However, a challenge to functional foods and beverages, according to Chase Hagerman, business development and marketing manager at Chemi Nutra, is convincing consumers to use them. He says because weight-loss regimens typically include calorie cutting, it seems counter-intuitive to consume a functional food or beverage in order to lose weight. There are also more formulation concerns related to functional foods because it is being consumed as a food rather than in capsule form.

Learn more about delivery and formulation concerns, as well as new ingredients and regulatory issues of weight management in the Digital Issue, “Weighing In."

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