Watching “Good Morning America”, the “Today Show” and other morning programs do their annual shtick on dieting for the New Year seemed just a little bit out of step with reality this year. That’s because consumers have become skeptical about the whole rigid concept of dieting to lose weight and have seen their hopeful resolutions repeatedly turn to disillusion. And it’s taken its toll.
Once-omnipresent health claims such as “no/low fat” and “low cholesterol” have become an increasingly ineffective marketing tool and, as a result, are disappearing from packages. In fact, Mintel recently reported a whopping 91% of U.S. consumers believe it’s better to eat a well-rounded diet than use diet products. Another 77% told Mintel that diet products aren’t as healthy as they claim to be, and 61% say they are not actually healthy.
That’s not surprising if you look at how many brands — especially frozen food products — offer reduced calorie options but are loaded with incredibly high levels of sodium. On the flipside, a refreshing trend involves food manufacturers — especially those in the cracker and nutrition bar categories — who focus on taking the nutritional facts from the side panel to make them front and center of the package, In essence, they let the number of calories and grams of sugars, fat and fiber do the talking. Moreover, such transparency on front-of-packaging labeling also emphasizes the wholesome attributes — fruit, fiber and protein, to name a few — in their products.Dieting isn’t a fad. It’s not a marketing gimmick. It isn’t a short-term stopgap or yo-yo weight solution. It’s a long-term commitment to a better lifestyle.