Shrinking UK sales for diet foods despite expanding UK waistbands

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th January 2013

Although one in three  consumers in the United Kingdom is on a ‘more or less permanent diet’, new research from Mintel finds that sales of diet or weight control foods have been stagnating.

Latest UK research from Mintel sees sales of weight control foods having risen by a conservative 10 per cent to £1.6 billion between 2007 and 2012, with the market at a standstill in 2012. The research found that around one in five (19 per cent) ofUKconsumers use diet food and drink. Meanwhile, just 5 per cent of consumers use diet products, such as appetite controllers and meal replacements.

The Mintel report found that exercise has become the most popular way to lose weight for UK consumers (60 per cent), followed by eating smaller portions (55 per cent), and cutting back on ‘fatty foods’ (53 per cent).  Only 30 per cent ofUKconsumers opt for diet foods to lose weight.

Competition from products which are naturally lower in calories is a major issue for the market, and almost half (48 per cent) of adults prefer these products instead of reduced calorie alternatives.

Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel said that the declining diet foods and weight control market was not a result of a ‘lack of interest’ in losing weight.

The Mintel study found that the overriding perception held by three quarters of the population (76%) is that diet products are overpriced. The research also found that a major challenge to the diet-foods market is widespread scepticism over the health credentials of foods labelled as diet, low fat or low calorie.