Brits favour smaller portions over diet food

AS A NEW year begins, the thoughts of many Brits will be on how to shed the excesses of the festive season and using January as a catalyst to realise their healthy lifestyle resolutions.


But while we may be growing larger as a nation, with one in three (31%) Brits on a more or less permanent diet, new research from Mintel has concluded that sales of diet and weight control food are stagnating.


Sales of weight control foods have risen by a conservative 10% to £1.6bn between 2007 and 2012, with the market at a standstill in 2012.


What’s more, the number of consumers looking out for light or diet food and drink products has progressively slipped, albeit at a slow rate. Around one in five (19%) Brits use diet food and drink, the number of users having dropped from 21% in 2008. Meanwhile, just 5% use diet products, such as appetite controllers and meal replacements.


Instead, they are focusing on exercising more (60%) and eating smaller portions (55%). Meanwhile, less than three in 10 (30%) Brits opt for more diet foods to try to lose weight.


Mintel senior food analyst Emma Clifford explained the findings:? ”The turbulent economic landscape, squeezed disposable incomes and low consumer confidence have stifled growth in the market, as financially straightened Britons turned to cheaper methods of weight management, such as eating smaller portions and cutting back on certain types of food.”??


When asked about light and low-fat foods, the overriding perception held by three quarters of the population (76%) is that diet products are overpriced. Also presenting a challenge to the market is the widespread scepticism over the health credentials of foods labelled as diet, low fat or low calorie. Some 71% feel it is difficult to know how healthy such products are, while over half (51%) actively distrust them, driven by concerns which linger over the ingredients or sweeteners they contain.