Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept and close

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Diet Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

“Diet” is defined as an eating or drinking regimen with the goal of losing or maintaining weight. Dieters are respondents who are currently trying or have ever tried to manage their weight by dieting. This Report covers diet products that are used primarily for weight control (weight loss and weight management).

The market size for diet products includes sales of the following items:

  • Diet food, drinks, and artificial sweeteners
  • Commercial weight-loss centers
  • OTC (over the counter) diet pills and meal replacements
  • VLCD/LCD diets (very low calorie diets/low calorie diets)
  • Diet books, cassettes, and exercise videos

BMI (body mass index) is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. The BMI calculation used to categorize respondents in this study is as follows:

(weight in pounds * 703) / (height in inches * height in inches)

Standard BMI classifications are:

  • 18.5 or less – underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.99 – healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.99 – overweight
  • 30+ – obese

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Dana Macke, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles & Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The market for diet products has faced slight declines since 2011. As what consumers consider “healthy” continues to evolve, diet products have struggled to keep up with changing preferences. Packaged and processed foods continue to fall out of favor, shrinking the opportunity for diet foods but opening up new possibilities for services that can offer people trying to lose weight convenience, time savings, or support. Dana Macke
Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The issues
            • Nutrition knowledge isn’t power
              • Figure 1: Level of nutrition knowledge, by weight-loss goals, June 2016
            • Dieters are thinking long-term
              • Figure 2: Attributes of effective diet plans, June 2016
            • Organization leads to motivation
              • Figure 3: Diet motivations, June 2016
            • The opportunities
              • More than half of Americans are dieting
                • Figure 4: Share of respondents who diet, June 2016
              • Dieters are largely positive about their chances of success
                • Figure 5: Attitudes toward dieting – Any agree, June 2016
              • Beliefs around diet and nutrition vary widely
                • Figure 6: Nutrition beliefs, June 2016
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • The market for diet products lacks growth
                  • Segment growth comes from diet pills and meal replacements
                    • Oprah reenergizes Weight Watchers
                      • Obesity epidemic persists, but may not be recognized by individuals
                      • Market Size and Breakdown

                        • Market for diet products holds steady
                          • Figure 7: Total US sales and forecast of diet products, at current prices, 2011-15
                        • Most diet product categories remain flat
                          • Figure 8: Methods used to manage weight, February 2011-March 2016
                        • Diet food and drink make up the bulk of the market
                          • Figure 9: Total US sales of diet products, by segment, at current prices, 2015 (est)
                          • Figure 10: Total US sales of diet products, by segment, at current prices, 2013 and 2015 (est)
                      • Market Perspective

                        • The Oprah effect
                          • Subscription services renew enthusiasm for cooking
                            • Wellness in the workplace
                              • Dieters move from “diet” products to “better-for-you” products
                                • Figure 11: Ingredient avoidance in BFY Foods, by diet status, June 2016
                            • Market Factors

                              • Obesity rates refuse to budge
                                • Figure 12: Percentage of overweight and obese Americans, 2000-14
                              • Misperceptions of body weight can encourage sales of diet products
                                • Figure 13: Calculated BMI and body weight perceptions, October 2015
                              • Americans try to reduce the binge
                                • Figure 14: Perceptions of overeating, February 2009-March 2016
                              • Unbalanced diets perpetuate obesity epidemic
                                • Figure 15: Percent of food group consumed, based on daily recommended amounts, 2014
                              • Aging population may have to shift their perspectives on healthy food
                                • Figure 16: BMI, by generation – Overweight or obese, October 2015
                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                              • Weight Watchers
                                • Nutrisystem
                                  • Jenny Craig
                                    • The DASH Diet
                                      • The MIND Diet
                                      • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                        • Weight Watchers
                                          • Nutrisystem
                                            • Jenny Craig
                                              • The DASH Diet
                                                • The MIND Diet
                                                • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Moderation isn’t new, but it’s catching on
                                                    • Health content is ubiquitous across social channels
                                                      • Calorie counters count on apps
                                                        • Obesity rates haven’t improved
                                                          • Diet? Healthy? Light? Gross!
                                                            • To eat, or not to eat, that is the question
                                                            • What’s Working?

                                                              • Moderation reigns as the most popular diet choice
                                                                • To post or not to post? Weight-loss groups gain traction on social
                                                                  • Figure 17: Weight Watchers | Introducing Beyond the Scale, December 2015
                                                                  • Figure 18: Strawberry mojito recipe, August 2016
                                                                  • Figure 19: Do the foods you eat affect your skin? | Herbalife nutrition advice, March 2016
                                                                  • Figure 20: Why Can’t We Accept Compliments? #NowBelieveIt, August 2015
                                                                • Health content draws engaged audience online
                                                                  • Herbalife’s business model persists
                                                                    • Dieters count on apps to keep track
                                                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                                                      • Healthy or not healthy? It can be hard to tell
                                                                        • Regular and diet soda fail to maintain market share
                                                                          • Nutrition guidelines shift (slowly)
                                                                            • Sustainability is key dieter challenge, not often addressed
                                                                              • Some see healthy choices as “girl food”
                                                                                • “Diet” is a dirty word
                                                                                • What’s Next?

                                                                                  • Is the microbiome the key to a healthy weight?
                                                                                    • Fasting diets gain appeal and acceptance
                                                                                      • The next level in sports nutrition
                                                                                        • Juices, teas, and smoothies – the modern liquid diets
                                                                                          • Eating for cognitive health
                                                                                            • Calorie counting 2.0
                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                              • A majority of Americans are actively seeking a healthy weight
                                                                                                • Some amount of nutrition knowledge is standard, but few are experts
                                                                                                  • Paid communities are thought of as the most effective diet option
                                                                                                    • Building healthy habits leads to weight-loss success
                                                                                                      • Goal setting is a positive motivator for many
                                                                                                        • Dieting isn’t easy (but anyone can do it)
                                                                                                          • Some are sensitive about weight and weight loss
                                                                                                          • Demographics of Dieters

                                                                                                              • Majority of Americans are watching their weight
                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Share of respondents who diet, June 2016
                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Change dieting from the previous year, 2009-16
                                                                                                              • Adults aged 25-34 are looking to lose
                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Key demographics of those dieting to lose weight, June 2016
                                                                                                              • Most looking to lose 20+ lbs
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Weight-loss goals (lbs.) of dieters, June 2016
                                                                                                            • Food Choices of Dieters

                                                                                                                • Dieters and non-dieters make similar choices
                                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Attitudes toward food, by diet status, June 2016
                                                                                                                  • Fewer than half believe their diets are healthy
                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Attitudes toward food, by diet status, June 2016
                                                                                                                • Nutrition Knowledge

                                                                                                                    • Most Americans have some degree of nutrition knowledge
                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Level of nutrition knowledge, June 2016
                                                                                                                    • Parents and adults under the age of 45 consider themselves experts
                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Level of nutrition knowledge, by key demographics, June 2016
                                                                                                                    • Those invested in losing weight have educated themselves on nutrition
                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Level of nutrition knowledge, by weight-loss goals (lbs.), June 2016
                                                                                                                      • There isn’t one best way to lose weight
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Nutrition beliefs, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Level of nutrition knowledge impacts diet beliefs
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Nutrition beliefs – Part I, by level of nutrition knowledge, June 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Nutrition beliefs – Part II, by level of nutrition knowledge, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • The most likely dieters prefer a “cheat day”
                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Nutrition beliefs – Cheat days, by age and gender, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Men more likely to lean on exercise to lose weight
                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Nutrition myths and truths, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                                                    • Diet Plan Perceptions

                                                                                                                        • Strengths and weaknesses of diet plans
                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Correspondence analysis – Diet plan perceptions, June 2016
                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Diet plan perceptions table, June 2016
                                                                                                                          • Natural and healthy not always linked in consumers’ minds
                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Diet plan perceptions – Healthy and natural attributes, June 2016
                                                                                                                          • Expensive doesn’t always equate to effective
                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Diet plan perceptions – Effective and expensive attributes, June 2016
                                                                                                                        • Attributes of Effective Diets

                                                                                                                            • Effective diets encourage a lifetime of good habits
                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Attributes of effective diet plans, June 2016
                                                                                                                              • Setting up good habits is more appealing to older dieters
                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Attributes of effective diet plans – Long-term habits, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                              • Income level has little effect on diet perspectives
                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Attributes of effective diet plans – Select attributes, by household income, June 2016
                                                                                                                              • Easy-to-follow diets appeal to those with low nutrition knowledge
                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Attributes of effective diet plans – Select attributes, by level of nutrition knowledge, June 2016
                                                                                                                              • Young dieters want the real deal
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Attributes of effective diet plans – Whole foods, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                              • Diet Motivations

                                                                                                                                  • Setting goals is a primary motivator
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Diet motivations, June 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Young dieters take a social approach to weight loss
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Diet motivations – Social components, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Women find planning aids in success
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Diet motivations – Select items, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Hispanic dieters plan with a friend
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Diet motivations – Dieting with a friend, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2016
                                                                                                                                • Attitudes toward Dieting

                                                                                                                                    • People have faith that weight-loss success is attainable
                                                                                                                                      • Many are diet agnostic
                                                                                                                                        • Weight loss still considered taboo
                                                                                                                                          • Some dieters feel disadvantaged
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Attitudes toward dieting, June 2016
                                                                                                                                          • All ages feel their ideal figure is achievable
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Attitudes toward dieting – Achieving the ideal body, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                                          • Those aged 25-34 feel the most social pressure around weight loss
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Attitudes toward dieting – Social pressures, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                                          • Black dieters may have a more realistic perspective
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Attitudes toward dieting - willpower, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2016
                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                                                                            • Sales data
                                                                                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Market

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Total US sales and forecast of diet products, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2011-15
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Total US sales and forecast of diet products, by segment, at current prices, 2011-15
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Methods used to manage weight, February 2012- March 2016
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Food product preferences for current dieters, February 2008-March 2016

                                                                                                                                                  This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                                                                                                                  • Market

                                                                                                                                                    Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer

                                                                                                                                                    Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

                                                                                                                                                  • Brand/Company

                                                                                                                                                    Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                                                                                                                  • Data

                                                                                                                                                    Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                                                                                                  Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.