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Dieting Trends - UK - November 2012

“Despite rising levels of obesity and the large swathes of the population who are trying to lose weight, the diet and weight control food market is stagnating. Although the overriding perception that ‘light’ products are overpriced is undoubtedly limiting their appeal, consumers’ scepticism over their healthiness is also a major barrier. In order to win consumers’ trust and compete with naturally low-calorie foods it is vital that manufacturers offer consumers greater transparency in terms of their ingredients and what constitutes them being ‘diet’.”

– Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • What do consumers do to lose weight and what can diet food brands learn from this?
  • What effect is the Responsibility Deal having on the diet and weight control food market?
  • What factors are stunting uptake of diet and weight control foods?
  • How can diet food brands leverage technology to engage consumers?
 

The UK is in the midst of a so-called obesity epidemic. The majority of the population are classified as either overweight or obese, and worryingly Britons are continuing to get bigger. As such dieting is commonplace and over half of adults, corresponding to some 27 million consumers, have tried to slim down in the last 12 months. Despite this, the weight control food market is struggling; sales of selected core categories have risen by a conservative 10% to £1.6 billion over the 2007-12 period, with the market at a standstill in 2012.

In the current era of austerity, the market is undoubtedly marred by the overriding perception that products labelled as ‘diet’ or ‘light’ are overpriced. However, another major barrier is consumers’ scepticism over the healthiness of these products, amid concerns about the ingredients or sweeteners they contain. Accordingly, dieters are gravitating towards food carrying more specific and tangible claims and many prefer to exercise more, reduce their portion sizes and cut back on unhealthy foods rather than eating more ‘diet’ products.

This report looks at consumers’ attitudes and behaviours related to dieting primarily for weight management, mainly with the use of weight control foods. Mintel's definition of weight control foods includes products designed specifically to help the consumer lose weight and food products that have a reduced fat, calorie or sugar content compared with standard products. Reduced calorie foods are food products where calorie levels have been reduced, compared to the standard variant of the product, typically labelled as ‘light’ or ‘diet’.

Meal replacements are defined as any meal replacement products designed for weight control. This includes meal complements, designed to accompany slimming programmes acting as snack replacements or to accompany a meal.

Meal replacements for weight control are not intended as the sole source of nutrition. They are subject to compositional standards defined in European legislation and must contain the legislated balance of protein, fat, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals designed to meet the total nutritional needs of one meal.

Appetite controllers/suppressants are designed to suppress the natural appetite so that the dieter eats less than usual. They are available as tablets, capsules, lozenges and drinks. Some contain glucose and are claimed to work by raising the blood sugar level, temporarily reducing the appetite. Others contain bulk-forming agents, such as bran, sterculia or methylcellulose and are taken with a drink before food to give the stomach a feeling of fullness. They are not a substitute for food; they are intended to be used as part of a calorie-controlled diet.

Very low-calorie diets (VLCDs) are commercially prepared formulae of 800 calories or less that replace all usual food intake. They contain all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed to replace normal meals for up to four weeks at a time. They are usually in the form of powdered drinks, soups, pre-mixed drinks and meal bars. VLCDs are generally considered safe when used by dieters with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: UK retail value sales of selected diet and weight control foods, 2007-17
              • Figure 2: UK retail value sales of selected diet and weight control foods, by sector, 2012 (est)
            • Market factors
              • Britons’ waistlines are getting bigger
                • Figure 3: Trends in Body Mass Index segments, 2008-12
              • The shifting population structure could boost the market
                • The government’s action to improve consumers’ health
                  • Backlash against diets
                    • The consumer
                      • Diminishing usage of diet food and drink
                        • Figure 4: Trends in agreement with lifestyle statements on use of diet food/drinks, 2008-12
                      • Seven in ten consumers have tried to lose or maintain their weight
                        • Figure 5: Attitudes towards weight loss, September 2012
                      • Exercise and portion control are prioritised over dietary changes
                        • Figure 6: Actions taken to manage weight, September 2012
                      • Structured dieting schemes are less popular
                        • Figure 7: Dieting schemes used in the last 12 months, by gender, September 2012
                      • Low fat is the most popular claim for healthy eaters
                        • Figure 8: Types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, September 2012
                      • Cynicism over price
                        • Figure 9: Attitudes towards light and low-fat foods, September 2012
                      • Competition from alternative low calorie foods
                        • Demand for low-calorie options in the drinks market
                          • What we think
                          • Issues in the Market

                              • What do consumers do to lose weight and what can diet food brands learn from this?
                                • What effect is the Responsibility Deal having on the diet and weight control food market?
                                  • What factors are stunting uptake of diet and weight control foods?
                                    • How can diet food brands leverage technology to engage consumers?
                                    • Trend Application

                                        • Trend: Life Hacking
                                          • Trend: Prove It
                                            • 2015 trend: Brand Intervention
                                            • Market Drivers

                                              • Key points
                                                • Obesity levels continue to edge up
                                                  • Figure 10: Trends in Body Mass Index segments, 2008-12
                                                • Weight problems vary by gender, age and socio-economic group
                                                  • Figure 11: Consumers categorised as obese and overweight, by gender and age, 2012
                                                  • Figure 12: Consumers categorised as obese and overweight, by socio-economic group, 2012
                                                • A rise in consumers trying to lose weight most of the time
                                                  • Figure 13: Trends in consumers trying to lose weight most of the time, 2008-12
                                                  • Figure 14: Agreement with the statement ‘Most of the time I am trying to lose weight’, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2012
                                                • Celebrity chefs help to drive awareness, but advice can be confusing
                                                  • Figure 15: Agreement with the statements ‘All the different advice on keeping healthy can be confusing’, ‘I’m always striving for a healthier lifestyle’ and ‘Cooking programmes/ campaigns by celebrity chefs on TV increased my awareness of healthy eating’, by gender and age, November 2011
                                                • Consumers continue to treat themselves
                                                  • Figure 16: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements regarding food and indulgent foods, 2008-12
                                                • Government, brands and retailers join forces to improve consumers’ health
                                                  • The shifting population structure could boost the market
                                                    • Figure 17: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2007-17
                                                  • Return to growth in consumer spending could benefit the market
                                                    • Figure 18: PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at constant 2012 prices, 2007-17
                                                • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                  • Strengths
                                                    • Weaknesses
                                                    • Who’s Innovating?

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Definition
                                                          • Slimming launches jump in 2012
                                                            • Figure 19: Share of new product launches with slimming and L/N/R calorie claims in the UK food market, 2009-12
                                                            • Figure 20: Share of new product launches with L/N/R fat, L/N/R sugar, L/N/R glycaemic and L/N/R carb claims in the UK food market, 2009-12
                                                          • Yogurts and ready meals continue to drive NPD
                                                            • Figure 21: New product launches with L/N/R calorie, L/N/R fat, L/N/R sugar, L/N/R glycaemic, L/N/R carb and slimming claims in the UK food market, by sub-category, 2009-12
                                                          • Stevia enters the UK market
                                                            • Brands come under mounting pressure from own-label in NPD
                                                              • Figure 22: New product launches with L/N/R calorie, L/N/R fat, L/N/R sugar, L/N/R glycaemic, L/N/R carb and slimming claims in the UK food market, private label vs branded, 2009-12
                                                            • Weight Watchers leads NPD
                                                              • Figure 23: Share of top 15 brands in new product launches with L/N/R calorie, L/N/R fat, L/N/R sugar, L/N/R glycaemic, L/N/R carb and slimming claims in the UK food market, 2009-12
                                                            • Morrisons ups the ante for own-label
                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Sales growth at a standstill in 2012
                                                                  • Figure 24: Value sales for selected diet and weight control foods, 2007-17
                                                                • The future of the market
                                                                  • Figure 25: UK retail value sales of selected diet and weight control foods, 2007-17
                                                                • Factors used in the forecast
                                                                • Segment Performance

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Biscuits hold the largest minority share
                                                                      • Figure 26: UK retail value sales of selected diet and weight control foods, by sector, 2012 (est)
                                                                      • Figure 27: Value sales growth of selected diet and weight control foods, by sector, 2011-12
                                                                      • Figure 28: UK retail value sales of selected diet and weight control foods, by sector, 2007-12
                                                                    • Yogurt
                                                                      • Breakfast cereals
                                                                        • Chilled and frozen ready meals
                                                                          • Artificial sweetener
                                                                            • Sales of slimming aids in decline
                                                                              • Figure 29: Total retail value sales of slimming aids*, 2007-12
                                                                          • Companies and Products

                                                                            • Weight Watchers
                                                                              • Company background
                                                                                • Diet plan
                                                                                  • Food and drink product range
                                                                                    • Product innovation
                                                                                      • Advertising and promotion
                                                                                        • Slim-Fast
                                                                                          • Company overview
                                                                                            • Diet plan
                                                                                              • Product range
                                                                                                • Kellogg’s
                                                                                                  • Company overview
                                                                                                    • Diet plan
                                                                                                      • Product range and innovation
                                                                                                        • Advertising and promotion
                                                                                                          • Adios
                                                                                                            • Company overview
                                                                                                              • Diet plan
                                                                                                                • Product range
                                                                                                                  • Natures Remedies
                                                                                                                    • Company overview
                                                                                                                      • Product range
                                                                                                                        • Retailer activity
                                                                                                                          • Tesco
                                                                                                                            • Sainsbury’s
                                                                                                                              • Asda
                                                                                                                                • Co-op
                                                                                                                                  • Morrisons
                                                                                                                                    • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                      • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                      • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Advertisers use low-fat claims to target consumers
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Number of adverts shown with low-fat/reduced fat/fat-free claims, 2007-12
                                                                                                                                          • TV advertising dominates, but internet and press advertising gains momentum
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Advertising expenditure by identified key players in the diet and weight control food market, by media type, 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Key players refresh marketing strategies
                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – Usage of Diet Foods and Slimming Products

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Waning demand for diet food and drink
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Trends in agreement with lifestyle statements on use of diet food/drinks, 2008-12
                                                                                                                                              • Women, 25-44s and ABC1s are the biggest users
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Agreement with the statements ‘I use diet food and drink products’ and ‘I always look for the light/diet versions of food and drink’, by gender and age, 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Agreement with the statements ‘I use diet food and drink products’ and ‘I always look for the light/diet versions of food and drink’, by socio-economic group, 2012
                                                                                                                                              • Usage of slimming products is small, but rising
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Usage of slimming products, 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Usage of slimming products, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2012
                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Weight Loss

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Over half of Britons are trying to lose weight
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Attitudes towards weight loss, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Consumers who have tried to lose weight in the last 12 months or try to maintain their current weight, by gender, age and socio-economic group, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Action Taken to Manage Weight

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Exercise comes above dietary changes
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Actions taken to manage weight, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Actions taken to manage weight, by type of weight objective, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • Eating less is a simple and popular course of action
                                                                                                                                                      • Women are more abstemious than men
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Most popular action taken to manage weight, by gender, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Only three in ten eat more diets foods when trying to lose weight
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Eating more products labelled low in sugar/fat/calories to manage weight, by gender, age and socio-economic group, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Young consumers are most likely to skip meals
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Skipping meals to manage weight, be gender and age, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Most dieters follow four or fewer steps
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Repertoire of types of action taken to manage weight, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • Food diaries are the most popular dieting scheme
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Dieting schemes used in the last 12 months, by gender, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Dieting schemes used in the last 12 months, food diary and diet app, by age, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Parents with young children are most likely to join diet clubs
                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Choice of Health Claims

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Low fat is the most popular claim for healthy eaters
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Selected types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, by gender, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • ‘Light’ and ‘diet’ claims are only important to a minority
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Agreement with the statement ‘I choose foods labelled light or diet when looking for healthy food’, by gender, age and socio-economic group, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Light and Low-fat Foods

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Cynicism over price
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Attitudes towards light and low-fat foods, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Questions marks linger surrounding healthiness of ‘light’ foods
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Agreement with the statements ‘It is hard to know how healthy products labelled as light really are’, ‘They contain ingredients/sweeteners that are bad for you’ and ‘I don’t trust the healthiness of many foods which are labelled as diet/low fat/low calorie’, by gender and age group, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Consumers are wise to small serving sizes
                                                                                                                                                                  • Strongest demand for low-calorie alcohol among under-35s
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Agreement with the statement ‘I would like to see more low-calorie options in alcoholic drinks*’, by age and socio-economic group, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                  • Under-35s are most likely to prefer ‘light’ products from brands
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Agreement with the statement ‘I prefer light products from the original brand (eg Cadbury Light Mousse) to diet brands (eg Weight Watchers)’, by gender and age, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                  • Demand for ‘light’ products from sports drinks brands among three in ten consumers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Young adults are motivated by rewards
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Agreement with the statement ‘I would like to get rewards for meeting my dieting/calorie targets’, by gender and age, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                      • Four target groups
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                      • Sceptical (23%)
                                                                                                                                                                        • Reward-led (25%)
                                                                                                                                                                          • Calorie Counters (24%)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Disengaged (28%)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Drivers

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Body Mass Index segments, by demographics, 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, 2008-12
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, by demographics, 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Best- and worst-case forecasts for selected diet and weight control foods, 2012-17
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Usage of Diet Foods and Slimming Products

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, by demographics, 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Weight Loss

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Attitudes towards weight loss, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Attitudes towards weight loss, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Attitudes towards weight loss, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Action Taken to Manage Weight

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Most popular action taken to manage weight, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Next most popular action taken to manage weight, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Repertoire of most popular action taken to manage weight, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Dieting schemes used in the last 12 months, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Choice of Health Claims

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Most popular types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Next most popular types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Other types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Light and Low-fat Foods

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Attitudes towards light and low-fat foods, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Agreement with the statements ‘They are overpriced’ and ‘It is hard to know how healthy products labelled as light really are’, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Agreement with the statements ‘The overall calorie/fat content is more important than the light/reduced label’ and ‘I feel cheated if the calorie count is based on tiny serving sizes’, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Agreement with the statements ‘They contain ingredients/sweeteners that are bad for you’ and ‘I don’t trust the healthiness of many foods which are labelled as diet/low fat/low calorie’, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Agreement with the statements ‘I prefer naturally lower-calorie foods to reduced calorie products’ and ‘I would like to see more low-calorie options in alcoholic drinks^’, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Agreement with the statements ‘They do not provide the necessary nutrients for a balanced diet’ and ‘I prefer light products from the original brand to diet brands’, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Agreement with the statements ‘I would consider light products from sports nutrition/sports drink brands’ and ‘I would like to get rewards for meeting my dieting/calorie targets’, by demographics, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Consumers who have tried to lose weight in the last 12 months, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Attitudes towards weight loss, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Most popular action taken to manage weight, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Dieting schemes used in the last 12 months, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Types of foods chosen when looking for healthy food, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Attitudes towards light and low-fat foods, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Grocery shopping habits, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Attitude towards health and healthy lifestyles, by target groups, September 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Cooking and eating habits, by target groups, September 2012

                                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                            • Aimia Foods
                                                                                                                                                                            • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                            • HJ Heinz Company UK
                                                                                                                                                                            • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                            • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                            • Slim Fast Foods Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                            • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                            • Unilever Bestfoods UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                            • Vimto Soft Drinks
                                                                                                                                                                            • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                            • Weight Watchers Ltd. (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Wm Morrison Supermarkets

                                                                                                                                                                            Dieting Trends - UK - November 2012

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