Health Foods in the Era of Ozempic
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Health Foods in the Era of Ozempic

What do suppressed appetites and more conscious consumers mean for the healthy food and beverage industry?

15% of Americans surveyed have personally used Ozempic for weight loss, while 47% know someone who has. Are GLP-1 drugs causing a shift in consumer spending habits?

Ozempic, a GLP-1 receptor agonist initially developed for type 2 diabetes management, has increasingly garnered attention for its off-label use in weight management. As consumers seek solutions to address rising obesity and related health concerns, many grocers are fearing the rise of Ozempic will influence how individuals shop for food and beverages.

One notable effect of Ozempic on consumer behavior is a heightened awareness of nutritional content and ingredients. As individuals embark on their weight loss journeys with the aid of this medication, many become more conscious of the foods they consume. They often prioritize items that are low in calories, sugars, and carbohydrates while being rich in protein and fiber – characteristics that align with the dietary recommendations often associated with Ozempic use.

Ozempic Side-Effects and Changes in Diet

15% of Americans surveyed have personally used Ozempic for weight loss, while 47% know someone who has. While social media might have inspired some people to request it, 41% said it was due to a doctor’s recommendation. Regardless of how many American consumers are actually taking Ozempic, or similar GLP-1 alternatives, there are distinct side-effects that may affect consumer shopping habits.

People who are on GLP-1 weight-loss drugs report feeling fuller for longer. Awareness of this feature could inspire consumers in general to seek satiety claims from brands because they want to achieve a similar feeling of fullness, without having to take drugs.

A New Opportunity to Problem-Solve for Side-Effects

Despite the side-effects, having a household member on GLP-1 doesn’t necessarily translate to smaller baskets or fewer trips to the grocery store, instead, these households are strategically shifting their food and beverage choices. These shifts provide opportunities for health and wellness brands. For example, GLP-1 households increasingly favor high-protein, energy-boosting, hydration, and convenient snack products. Products marketed as "low-calorie," "low-sugar," or "high-protein" are seeing increased sales, reflecting consumers' changing preferences influenced, in part, by the use of medications like Ozempic.

Similarly to the Atkins Diet, which restricts intake of carbohydrates and gained popularity in the early 2000s — it fueled a whole category of products, including low-carb ketchup, ice cream and soft drinks. Interstate Bakeries Corp., which was then the maker of Twinkies, cited the trend when it filed for bankruptcy in 2004. But by 2005, companies including General Mills Inc. were reversing course as the diet’s popularity faded amid a lack of evidence it achieves durable weight loss. Nonetheless, remnants of the Atkins Diet still linger: Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has burrito bowls for the carb-conscious that are now labeled as Keto and Paleo friendly, Starbucks Corp. sells high-protein boxes with cheese and eggs, etc.

At the End of the Day: Who Can Afford to Be 'Healthy'?

It's essential to acknowledge that the impact of Ozempic on consumer food shopping behaviors isn't uniform across all demographics or geographic regions. Socioeconomic factors, cultural norms, and access to healthcare all play crucial roles in shaping dietary habits and purchasing decisions. Additionally, while Ozempic may incentivize healthier food choices for some individuals, others may still struggle with issues such as food insecurity, limited access to fresh foods, or underlying psychological factors influencing their eating behaviors.

Without insurance, Ozempic can cost around $892.06 per month, on average. Depending on the condition it’s prescribed for (e.g. type 2 diabetes versus weight loss), the pharmacy you use, and the coverage offered by your particular plan — health insurance may or may not cover Ozempic.

In conclusion, the use of Ozempic could potentially drive a shift towards healthier, more mindful dietary choices. Although, this is a shift we’ve seen before with other popular diets — whether or not these changes will last is yet to be seen.


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