As obesity continues to cement itself a major health issue globally, it comes as no surprise that, in one of the fattest nations – the United States – consumer weight consciousness is high. Indeed, 39 per cent of US consumers were actively trying to lose weight in 2016, according to research by GlobalData. More interestingly, the methods consumers are using to lose weight are evolving away from quick fixes to a more holistic approach; creating implications for food and drink brands trying to capitalize on the Weight Management trend.

Research by GlobalData reveals that, while exercise remained one of the top approaches to weight loss in 2016, Americans now place more emphasis on dietary changes compared to three years ago. Indeed, in 2016, 63 percent of Americans trying to lose weight claimed they were eating less – an increase of three percentage points from 2013; while those claiming to exercise more fell by the same margin.

Furthermore, it is also evident that these consumers are choosing a healthier, “cleaner,” approach to dieting overall. Compared three years ago, Americans are now more likely to follow a healthier meal plan, snack less and eat natural, less processed, foods to lose weight, than they are to consume “diet” food and drinks, or supplements.

While the trend indicates that US consumers are tiring of faddy diets and are instead choosing to adopt healthier lifestyle changes for long-term weight loss, it remains to be seen if these changes will be enough to curb rising obesity levels going forward. However, the findings send a clear message to brands trying to tap into the lucrative Weight Management trend. Innovation must focus on natural formulations and smaller portions of “real” foods which can support weight loss efforts; rather than products explicitly marketed as “diet” food.