What role do Low Calorie, Low Sugar, and Low Fat Foods and Beverages, play in helping you lose weight? What is the story on Artificial Sweeteners? Read this informative review, then take our Diet Wizard to find out how 60 of the most respected weight loss programs pan out for your specific needs. Find out which of the Top 60 weight loss programs is best for you. Our comprehensive diet analysis examines your lifestyle and dieting preferences, and reviews your needs versus the major health club chains, commercial weight loss clinics like Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss and Jenny Craig, medical weight loss, healthcare pros, and popular celebrity diets. Then BestDietForMe.com provides you with unbiased, in-depth reports on your matches, complete with detailed reviews weight loss programs, to help you choose the foods and diet plans that are right for you…
Low Calorie / Low Sugar Foods & Beverages
Summary & Comment
Today there is a mind-boggling variety of products sold bearing the adjectives: light/lite, lean, healthy, low-calorie, low-fat, low-cholesterol, etc. Low-carb has become the more important term in the past two years, but there are still plenty of low-cal and low-fat products out there too. Exactly where is the "cut-off" that defines "diet" food? The government standard used to be the 300-calorie level, but an entree could be above this level today, be low in sodium and derive less than 30% of its calories from fat (as recommended by the Surgeon General), to be labeled "healthy".
There are five descriptive words for products that fall into the diet foods category: diet, low-fat, low-calorie, light, and lite. Low-calorie entrees account for 20% of all sales dollars spent by consumers on frozen single dishes and dinners. And, the frozen calorie-controlled entree market represents 60% of total retail diet food.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has just recently eased its position about fat. Now, the FDA, which regulates food labels and the health claims on them, is easing its 10-year war on fat and instead will be focusing more on calories. "We’ve concluded that the emphasis on low fat and no fat obscured the central message that calories are the main thing."
Since 1993, there has been a major shift in the scientific consensus about total fat, the type of fat, and heart disease. The tidal wave of low-fat foods introduced to the U.S. market during the 1990s didn’t reduce the national obesity rates. Many of these low-fat products, loaded with calories, just made people even fatter.
Definition & Nature of The Low-Calorie/Diet Foods Market
For the purposes of this report, BestDietForMe.com/Marketdata still considers the 300-calorie entree level to mean "diet" food. The percentage of Americans consuming low-fat and reduced calorie foods for weight loss reached an all-time peak of 180 million Americans in 2000, according to the Calorie Control Council’s survey. These levels are nearing the saturation point–with not much growth left in the share of people NOT consuming low-calorie foods.
The healthy/diet frozen foods market is definitely getting more crowded. The Tufts University Diet & Nutrition Letter said that in 1990, food companies rolled out 1,000 low-fat and fat-free products into supermarkets. According to New Product News, there were 2,147 new low-fat and/or reduced calorie products introduced to the marketplace in 1997.
There has been an interesting shift from "low-calorie" labels on foods since the late 1980s toward "low-fat" instead. This reflects all the media hype created in recent years by best-selling diet plans and books and infomercials from authors/celebrities such as Dean Ornish, Susan Powter, Rosie Daley (Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef), and others. In 1991, the numbers were almost equal, but low-fat food products now outnumber low-calorie products by almost three to one. In 1994 alone, fat-reduced foods rose 70% in number.
Originally, many low-fat products tasted terrible. Now however, thanks to the development of many fat substitute technology breakthroughs, lower fat foods provide good taste as well as reduced fat grams. Nabisco’s SnackWells brand had reached a $400 million business. Perhaps the reason why SnackWells had been such a success at the same time that Americans are fatter than ever is that consumers made the erroneous assumption that because a product is lower in fat, they could eat as much of it as they wanted and not gain weight. That’s a fallacy. Low-fat doesn’t mean zero calories.
How Do Americans Use Low-calorie/Low-fat Products?
According to the last 2000 survey by the Atlanta-based trade group named the Calorie Control Council, 180 million Americans currently consume low or reduced-fat foods and beverages. By comparison, in 1978 there were only 42 million adult consumers of low-cal, sugar-free products in the U.S.
The vast majority of 90% of American adults use either reduced-fat or low-calorie products regularly (at least once every 2 weeks). This high level of usage has probably reached a peak level. Fully 69% of adults responding to the C.C.C. survey use both reduced-fat and low-calorie products.
Over one-quarter of all American female heads of household (26.5%) buy frozen entrees--purchasing between four and six packages in a given 30-day period, according to Simmons data, cited by market researcher FIND/SVP.
What low-fat products are people eating in their quest for weight loss? According to the Council, the most popular are...
The Top Reasons Why Consumers Choose Low-Cal, Sugar-Free Foods & Beverages
How Much Do We Spend Per Week & Per Year On Food?
The answer to this question should be of intense interest to providers of weight loss programs, especially those that require their customers to purchase their company-brand food (i.e. Nutri/System, Jenny Craig). Analyzing these expenditures can help objectively demonstrate to customers that they really are not spending more under their plans than if they purchased regular food at the supermarket and away from home.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has some interesting figures from its latest "Consumer Expenditure Survey". Basically, the BLS says that the average person spends $92.50 per week on food, with $39.04 spent on food away from home and $53.46 on food at home. Figures do not include alcoholic beverages.
Diet Soft Drinks
The largest individual segment of the total weight loss and diet control market belongs to diet soft drinks. BestDietForMe.com/Marketdata analysts feel that these products’ sales should rightly be included in a valuation of the total weight loss diet control market, since people consumer them to cut down on calories and to maintain or lose weight. Any activity concerned with calorie control has to be considered part of the weight loss market.
Diet soft drinks really came into their own in the 1980s, when the arrival of new low-cal products and sweeteners coincided with the slimmer look mentality that swept the U.S. (beginning on the two coasts and spreading inward to the rest of the nation). The number of Americans who ate low-calorie or sugar-free foods soared from 42 million to 180 million from 1972 to 2000, according to surveys performed by the Calorie Control Council.
Consumption of diet soft drinks reached its high point in 1990, when the diet segment comprised almost 30% of the total soft drink market. But, while more people seem to be eating sugar-free products, sales of diet soft drinks had lost share to other kinds of drinks for most of the 1990s. According to Beverage Industry magazine, this slippage was due to three factors: drinks made with high fructose corn syrup taste better, it’s difficult to convince men to drink diet soft drinks, and most recently, the growth of the bottled water industry.
An estimated 63+ million consumers now use artificial sweeteners.
Diet products containing sodium saccharin, such as diet soft drinks, sugar substitutes, and similarly artificially sweetened products may present certain health problems. Not only has saccharin been demonstrated to act as a carcinogen in laboratory animals, but there have been no studies which demonstrate that it is effective in helping to achieve long-term weight loss in overweight individuals. In other words, though one may "save" calories with saccharin diet products, he/she makes up for those calories another time, often hours later, by eating other foods.
However, many retailers claim that soft drinks have opened new doors for other diet products. The appearance of NutraSweet has helped increase the demand for diet products overall.
Although regulations have slowed the use of artificial sweeteners in foods and beverages, the FDA now appears to be more lenient in allowing sugar substitutes on the market, in view of more conclusive evidence of their safety.
Copyright © 2012 Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.