Many manufacturers prefer to focus on their products’ health credentials and target the mainstream rather than ‘dieters’

Dieting is a dirty word for many manufacturers, who seem more keen to stress their products’ health credentials and appeal to a more mainstream audience than to target dieters.
However, there are still some healthy products which are going down the diet route, such as Fruisana Fruit Sugar, which is launching a new pack that better communicates its low GI message, while Princes is promoting its link with Slimming World on 12 value-added tuna products.
Princes marketing director Neil Brownbill says: “Consumers want convenience and these products can reduce meal preparation time and inspire tasty meal solutions. Princes Slimming World tuna has been extremely successful since its launch.”
But others steer clear of being branded as weight-loss aids. Nestlé’s 99% fat-free cereal Fitnesse is positioned in the ‘women’s health’ sector of the cereals market as Nestlé reckons there is no such category as ‘diet’ in this sector, even though it acknowledges Kellogg’s Special K goes down a more diet-orientated marketing route. And Ryvita, although traditionally perceived as a diet brand, is now moving into
mainstream healthier eating with the launch of mini snack versions.
Rob Murray, marketing director at Ryvita, explains: “Our products do fit into many of the quick-fix diet plans, but for the mainstream seeking a balanced diet they also provide a reliable day-to-day healthier option, regardless of any diet plan.”
Meanwhile, sports nutrition is fighting for a separate category on shelf. Maximuscle has a range of products, including a Promax Diet Bar that contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can help weight loss, along with green tea & caffeine, protein and high fibre, aimed at consumers wanting convenient food.
Maximuscle MD Ivor Harrison says despite sports nutrition’s lack of signposting in-store, awareness of the sector is growing. He even believes that the sports nutrition category could take consumers away from products such as Slim-Fast because they have a healthier slant than purely weight-loss brands.
“Sales are growing at 20% a year,” says Harrison. “The brand is popular with people with an active lifestyle, rather than those who use diet products and don’t exercise. The products won’t be mainstream, but sports nutrition is a mega-trend and we’re talking to more supermarkets about listings.”