two women stretching

The New Look of Weight Management

Weight loss is no longer the driving force behind today’s most popular diets. Learn how consumer perceptions around diets and weight loss nutrition products are shifting and what it means for the category.

Weight Loss Still Important but the Journey is Different

As the COVID crisis winds down, consumers are eager to get back on track with their fitness goals and lose those extra pounds—particularly with the help of weight management and sports nutrition products formulated to support their efforts. While weight loss is a priority for many right now, the journey looks different than what we’ve seen in the past, with a variety of diet approaches and a stronger focus on overall health and wellness.

For example, in exploring the types of diets consumers are on or want to try, data shows the three most popular diets are low carb (19%), clean eating (18%), and intermittent fasting (16%).1 The keto/high-fat diet (popular among 14% of consumers),2 is notable for the buzz it’s generating across all age groups, according to weight-loss-related mentions on social media.3

Diving deeper into why consumers are choosing these top three diets reveals another dimension. Not only are low carb, clean eating, and intermittent fasting favored over other diets by consumers who are trying to lose weight, but they’re also the top choices by those whose goals are muscle building/weight gain and weight management.4

woman drinking milk

Consumers Using Weight Management Products for More Holistic Benefits

Traditionally, consumers reached for products like meal replacement drinks to support weight loss or sports performance. Today, however, weight management products are used for a broader, more holistic range of benefits. In fact, Mintel reports the top reason consumers are drinking weight loss, nutrition, or meal replacement drinks is to improve overall health (43%).5 Boosting energy is the second most cited reason (40%), and weight management comes in third (38%).6

Other reasons consumers drink meal replacement beverages are to replace unhealthy snacking (34%), because they’re easier to consume than food (28%), and as a primary source of nutrients (27%).7 In response to this expanded interest, many nutrition brands are shifting their messaging to emphasize positive nutrition over weight loss. Brands are also highlighting benefits like convenience and minimizing waste, which are associated with sustainability.

Weight Management Category Embraces Naturalness

Another evolution is the trend in all-natural weight management products, with no additives/preservatives claims on the rise in weight management nutrition launches in North America. Between October 2020 and September 2021, 36% of launches featured these claims, up from 27% the prior year.8 Only 21% of new launches made these claims the year before that.9

man looking at supplements

The natural concept in weight management products is also extending beyond simply no additives and preservatives. For example, Hum Counter Cravings dietary supplement is free from GMOs, as well as artificial colors and flavors. Alora Naturals Vegan BCAA drink mix, which promotes burning fat into energy, features organic coconut water, and contains no GMOs or artificial flavors and sweeteners.

Ingredients for Today’s Weight Management Consumers

Meeting the expectations of the new weight management consumer requires smart formulating, such as protein to support low carb and keto diets and customized premix solutions to add energy benefits and essential nutrients to meal replacement products.

Looking ahead, expect to see the weight management category begin to incorporate performance nutrition benefits, as well as functional benefits for immunity, sleep, and mood as more consumers take a holistic view of weight management as just one component of overall health and wellness. 

Contact Glanbia Nutritionals to learn more about formulating weight management products to meet today’s demands.


1-2. Glanbia Nutritionals Proprietary Study, April 2021. Base = 398.
3. Digital +, Sprinklr Report on Weight Loss Global, September 2021.
4. Glanbia Nutritionals Proprietary Study, May 2021. Base = 194 (Weight Loss), 63 (Maintain Weight), 71 (Build Muscle/Gain Weight).
5-7. Mintel, A New Category, Smart Nutrition, Oct 2020. 
8-9. Mintel, October 2017-September 2021.

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