Weight-loss doubts hitting diet food sales

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iol lif jan 8 low-fat INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS In theory there is a huge and growing market for foods that can deliver meaningful weight loss.

London - With waistlines expanding at an alarming rate, growing numbers of us are doing our best to keep the kilos off.

Yet the proportion buying diet foods has actually fallen, with consumers increasingly sceptical about the health claims of so-called “diet” and “low-fat” foods.

The high price of specialist diet ranges, and scepticism about weight-loss claims and health credentials, have hit the market, a study suggests.

Many are turning to commonsense solutions to obesity such as more exercise, eating smaller portions and choosing naturally healthy food.

In theory there is a huge and growing market for foods that can deliver meaningful weight loss. Almost two in three women – 63 percent – tried to lose weight in the past year, while the figure was around one in five for men.

However, retail analysts at market research firm Mintel suggest the diet food market in 2012 was stagnant with the value of sales unchanged on the year before at £1.6 billion (R13.7bn).

And the proportion of people using specialist diet food and drink has fallen from 21 percent in 2008 to 19 percent today.

Mintel found that three in four people take the view that diet products are overpriced, and 71 percent questioned their health credentials.

Half actively distrusted them, largely because many contain controversial artificial sweeteners.

Emma Clifford, of Mintel, said: “The troubles of the diet and weight-control market cannot be attributed to consumers lacking interest in losing weight, in fact, quite the contrary. 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’’.’ – Daily Mail

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