GLP-1 Drugs Prompt New Food Offerings

The success of new obesity and diabetes drugs is evident in grocery store aisles. We’ve written before about how the rise of GLP-1 medications is reshaping consumer habits and posing challenges to various sectors of the food and beverage industry.

For one, a Morgan Stanley report predicted that the consumption of sweet and salty snacks could drop by as much as 3% through 2035, causing concern in the food industry. Food companies are reacting accordingly by launching new and reformulated products to cater to the growing number of people using drugs like Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy. Experts believe this trend could significantly alter American diets.

How GLP-1 drugs can lead to nutritional deficiencies

GLP-1 medications, which help reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness, can lead to nutritional deficiencies because people on these drugs tend to eat less overall. This decreased appetite can result in insufficient intake of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

Specifically, reduced protein intake can lead to muscle loss, while lower consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts can limit the intake of important antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, as well as fiber, which is crucial for blood sugar stabilization, cholesterol management, and digestive health.

To counteract these potential deficiencies, it is important for patients on GLP-1 medications to follow a well-balanced and nutrient-dense eating plan. This includes ensuring adequate intake of macronutrients (proteins for muscle preservation and satiety, carbohydrates for energy and fiber, and fats for vitamin absorption and brain function) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Healthcare professionals recommend tailoring your dietary needs based on personal factors such as age, weight, medical history, and activity levels.

GLP-1-friendly food offerings

Several big food manufacturers stand out. Nestlé, owner of brands like Stouffer’s and DiGiorno Pizza, recently introduced a new line of frozen foods with smaller portions and more protein to counteract muscle loss associated with GLP-1s. This move is seen as a “logical reaction” to the GLP-1 boom, and competitors are expected to follow suit.

The line, called Vital Pursuit, is “high in protein, a good source of fiber, contain[s] essential nutrients, and they are portion-aligned to a weight-loss medication user’s appetite,” the company said. It’s also affordable as it’s sold for $4.99 or less. Items include sandwich melts, pizzas, and bowls with whole grains or protein pasta.

According to Reuters, General Mills is already offering high-protein versions of Annie’s Mac and Cheese and Betty Crocker baking mixes with lower sugar and sodium. And Conagra, which owns brands like Healthy Choice and Slim Jim, is considering smaller-portion frozen foods and sees potential in its protein- and fiber-rich snacks.

Nutrition experts say these new products cater well to GLP-1 users’ needs. These products may also benefit those who stop taking GLP-1s within a year and struggle to maintain weight loss, as well as consumers who are not on GLP-1s but want to reduce calories and sugar or increase protein intake.

A smaller-portion trend

Writer Tina Reed, in her recent article for Axios, reported that Hank Cardello, a former food executive and now a consumer health expert at Georgetown University, suggested that changing perceptions of portion sizes could positively impact American diets. This trend was evident at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo, where many products were marketed as “minis” or “bites.”

Hank Cardello said:

Once it gets up in that neighborhood, food companies have to pay attention. They have to, otherwise they’re walking away from business. You can’t sell king-size X, Y, and Z to this crowd.

The caveat

Consumers might be misled by marketing claims and assume products labeled for GLP-1 users are inherently “healthy.” Experts emphasize that these drugs should be paired with exercise and a proper diet.

Whether these new products and food trends associated with the increasing use of GLP-1 drugs are here to stay, time will tell. One thing is for sure: Food manufacturers will adapt.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Weight-loss drugs are forcing changes to grocery store offerings,” Axios, 6/4/24
Source: “Changes in food preferences and ingestive behaviors after glucagon-like peptide-1 analog treatment: techniques and opportunities,”, 3/7/24
Source: “Nestlé Launches Frozen Food Line for People Using GLP-1 Drugs,”, 5/27/24
Image by Alan Hardman on Unsplash

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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