The obesity epidemic is not only a top health concern for the U.S., but also several other nations, particularly those in Europe. In response to the global health crisis, many manufacturers have developed food and beverage products specifically to contain formulations free from or reduced in calories. Such practices have led to the increased appearance of high-intensity sweeteners and other sugar substitutes. Under the low-/no-/reduced-calorie product stance, brands often contain wording that directly leverages the claim on their pack designs.

When comparing the percent change of launches in 2008 vs. 2006, an impressive nine out of the 10 sub-categories abiding to the low-/no-/reduced-calorie claim increased in product introductions. The snack/cereal/energy bars segment was most active in seeing the product component. Because many consumers opt for these offerings as snacks and between meal times, snack/cereal/energy bars’ formats seem most appropriate for altering with a formula low in or free from calories.

In France, Kraft Foods recently launched its long-lived brand Toblerone in a Crispy 100 Calorie Pack offering. One carton of Toblerone Crispy 100 Calorie Packs contains six individual sachets of mini, crunchy biscuits coated in milk chocolate with nougat pieces, almonds and honey. The 100-calorie pack concept has taken the U.S. snack market by storm, with more Americans purchasing brands that position to aid in weight control. Kraft’s decision to introduce the 100-calorie pack to Europe is interesting, considering these countries are generally less concerned with weight management.