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New Year Dieting Dilemma for British Consumers

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New Year Dieting Dilemma for British Consumers

New Year Dieting Dilemma for British Consumers
January 03
12:15 2012

Despite having the resolve to lose weight, British consumers may not know how to go about it, reveals new research from Mintel. Indeed, just six in 10 (61) UK consumers say that they know what they should and should not eat to lose weight – dropping to only 55% of men.

Furthermore, over one in 10 Brits (12%) say that “I’d like to lose weight, but I don’t know how” and just 41% say that they know how many calories a day they should consume. The number of adults who try to eat a low-fat diet has also dropped between 2008-11, from 44% to for 37% of consumers.

Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel, comments: “Our research suggests that consumers are going on diets despite being uncertain about what they should eat. It also implies that advice surrounding calorie consumption is failing to register among a sizeable chunk of the population – especially men. This presents manufacturers with an opportunity to take the lead and help consumers understand the importance of calories via educational marketing activity. Consumers’ uncertainty about calories and what foods to avoid to lose weight stems from a wider lack of clarity about what is and isn’t healthy. To excite sales growth, diet food manufacturers must tackle this consumer confusion in a way that all people will relate to.”

Overall, the diet and weight control foods market is currently valued £1.6 million – by 2016, Mintel forecasts the market to grow 7% to £1.7 million. Today, half (50%) of consumers claim that “most of the time” they eat carefully to help control their weight. But in spite of the economic downturn and its aftermath, there has been little change in the number of consumers who have been on a diet, though the share of those who often go on diets has marginally declined, by 0.8 percentage points, between 2007 and 2011. However, the uncertain economic outlook may have an impact on future growth as consumers grow more concerned about their financial situation than their weight. Indeed, Mintel’s research reveals that “my own financial situation” was deemed a personal concern by 59% of adults in 2011 whereas “my health” was deemed a concern by just 41%.

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