Grocery Store Offerings Changing Due To Weight-Loss Drugs

( — The surging popularity of weight-loss drugs known as GLP-1 agonists is rapidly changing what’s on offer at American grocery stores.

The medications, often prescribed for diabetes or weight loss, include Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy. The mass implementation of drugs for weight loss has been noticed by the food industry, which always stands ready to give the market what it’s hungry for.

GLP-1 agonists are believed to help patients trying to lose weight by slowing down the stomach emptying. This causes them to get full faster and feel full for longer stretches of time. Some experts are concerned that this may make getting enough nutrients a challenge. Patients who use GLP-1 often say their tastes have changed as well. They report being less interested in high-fat or very sweet foods. Others complain that food they previously enjoyed is now too salty or bitter.

In response to these changing tastes, several food companies will be releasing products specifically geared to consumers using GLP-1 for weight loss. Nestlé has debuted a new line of foods called Vital Pursuit, designed for use in conjunction with the medications. These will feature small portions and high protein, as well as fiber and essential nutrients. General Mills is already selling Betty Crocker cake mixes with lower sugar and sodium as a response to market changes. They have also released a higher protein version of Annie’s Mac and Cheese to help meet consumer demand.

Consumer health expert at Georgetown University, Hank Cardello, commented that at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo, many companies were rolling out smaller portion snacks. He added that changing the perception of appropriate portion sizes could be a valuable shift.

Not everyone sees the market changes as positive, though. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern sees companies linking their marketing of new ultra-processed foods specifically to a medication like Ozempic as “messed up as it gets”. While Zimmern is not the only one concerned about overly processed foods, some experts estimate that upward of 10% of the U.S. population could end up taking these medications. If there is market demand, there will be companies ready to meet it.

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