As far as the food industry is concerned, sugar most certainly has become the villain of the moment. It’s blamed for the world’s obesity crisis and has overtaken fat and salt as the major focus for health campaigning.

Innova Market Insights finds various product claims targeting the weight-conscious consumer. They include “no added sugar,” “low fat,” “low calorie” and others. Using these and other claim suggestions, Innova Market Insights found that new product development—emphasizing a specific weight management platform—experienced significant growth in 2015 from 2014, with a +33% increase in global product launch activity.

Sports Powders was the dominant market category in 2015 with a weight management positioning, representing 30% of all weight management positioned product launches tracked by Innova Market Insights, followed by Cereal & Energy Bars with 6%. The most popular ingredients incorporated for a weight management claim in 2015 were fiber, L-carnitine, chromium, green tea catechins, protein and citrulline.

Another interesting development involves the rise of the Paleo Diet as a weight loss regime. The Paleo Diet adheres to the eating habits of our ancestors and is perceived to be simpler and more natural. It has achieved almost cult status (particularly in the US) since its revival in the early 2000s.

Looking at use of the word “paleo” in launch activity, Innova Market Insights finds that there has been a tremendous surge during the past five years—from single figures in 2010 to more than 380 separate new items in 2015. Although this remains very small in terms of global launch activity totals, it is nearly two and a half times the number recorded 2014.

Overall weight loss new product launch activity has been fairly fragmented in terms of product categories, although Cereals, Bakery Products and Snacks account for a combined 56% share. Sports Nutrition products take fourth place, ahead of Soft Drinks and Dairy Alternatives.

Traditional weight loss program companies have not stood still. Nutrisystem Inc., Fort Washington, Pa., closed 2015 with announcements of new packaging, new frozen foods and a product line reformulation. The company also acquired the South Beach Diet brand and launched a Turbo10 program to help consumers lose up to 10 pounds and five inches overall in the first month. Last but not least, Nutrisystem came right back in January 2016 with 16 more new items including entrees, sides, snacks and desserts.

Officials note all products on the Nutrisystem menu have reformulated to contain no artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. Whole grains also were increased in foods to aim to have at least 50% of the grains coming from whole grain sources. All Nutrisystem foods also meet USDA guidelines for fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.

2017 Ingredients for Health Guide Categories:


Antioxidants for Health

Bone, Joint & Cosmetic Health

Cardiovascular Health

Cognitive Health

Diabetes & Blood Glucose Control

Digestive Health

Eye Health

Sports & Energy

Weight Management

Originally appeared in the December, 2016 issue of Prepared Foods as Battle of the Bulge.