Food Cos. Look to Fill Stomachs and Reduce Waistlines
By George Anderson
Hunger pangs be gone. Food marketers, many having been “a day late and a dollar short” when it comes to picking up on diet fads in the past, are trying to create their own with products that make people feel full after ingesting them.
Companies, including Nestlé, Unilever and Kraft Foods, reports The Wall Street Journal, have experimented with special starches and sources of fiber that make people feel full so they can stop eating long enough to lose some weight.
Keeping up with diet fads is a tricky proposition but one that has huge benefits if timed right. While overall food sales growth continues at a two percent pace, hit a diet fad right and returns can be much higher. Unfortunately for CPG manufacturers, get into the game late or miss it altogether and the reverse is true.
“When we launched [Lean Cuisine], it was all about low calories, leg warmers and Jane Fonda,” says Brett White, head of marketing for Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine. “Then it was about low cholesterol and low fat — the cycles are happening faster and faster.”
Unilever, reports WSJ, is betting on a food technology that alters the structure and the coating of fat molecules so that they remain intact as they pass through the digestive system. When they hit the lower portion of the intestine they trigger a response in the body that it is full.
Terry Olson, general manager of marketing for SlimFast, says the technique can convince the body it has consumed 500 calories when it has only taken in 190.
Moderator’s Comment: On balance, have major marketers benefited on their top and bottom lines by trying to stay up with diet fads? What is the key for
CPGs and retailers looking to position themselves in the broad dieting category? –
George Anderson – Moderator