[Fox Business] Nestlé launches food line targeting Ozempic, other weight-loss drug users

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Nestlé is launching a line of food products tailored to people using weight-loss medication in an effort to capitalize on a market expected to reach $30 billion in the next six years. 

Under its new Vital Pursuit brand, the global food giant plans to launch 12 products ranging from frozen protein pasta, sandwich melts and pizzas, all of which are made with a higher amount of protein and essential nutrients like iron, vitamin A and potassium. They are also “portion-aligned to a weight loss medication user’s appetite,” the company said. 

It’s the first time the company, known for brands like DiGiorno pizza, KitKat, and Nesquik, created a food brand that’s specifically intended for glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) users.

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GLP-1 agonists are a class of Type 2 diabetes drugs that improves blood sugar control but may also lead to weight loss. Semaglutide, which is the active ingredient in Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Ozempic, as well as tirzepatide, which is the active ingredient in Eli Lily’s Mounjaro and Zepbound, are considered GLP-1 drugs.  

They have surged in popularity in recent years as people touted the drugs’ weight-loss effects. In turn, food executives are noticing some shoppers’ habits are changing. 

For instance, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said during an earnings call in November that while it was still too early to tell how this will affect customers and the business, the company has seen “some shifts in categories.” 

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Before that, Furner acknowledged in an interview with Bloomberg that the company sees “a slight pullback in overall basket.” 

“Just less units, slightly less calories,” he said. 

At the same time, Nestlé sees an opportunity to be at the “forefront” of what it says is a “growing market opportunity.” 

Earlier this month, Novo Nordisk told FOX Business that at least 25,000 Americans are beginning treatment with Wegovy each week and that figure is growing.  

The Danish pharmaceutical giant, which has been ramping up production capacity to meet demand, said that there are currently “four times” the number of U.S. patients starting the medication compared with December 2023.

In 2023, one in 60 adults were prescribed a GLP-1 medication, according to the American Pharmacists Association.

By 2030, the number of GLP-1 users in the U.S. could reach 30 million, or around 9% of the overall population, according to JPMorgan. The market is projected to exceed $100 billion by that same year, “driven equally by diabetes and obesity usage,” the firm noted. 

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“As the use of medications to support weight loss continues to rise, we see an opportunity to serve those consumers,” Nestlé North America CEO Steve Presley said. “We’re leveraging our deep understanding of consumers and nutritional science to stay ahead of the trends that are shaping consumer behaviors, and innovating across our portfolio to deliver products people will love.”  

Nestlé said it plans to sell the products for less than $5, but that prices may vary by retailer. 

They will hit stores in the fourth quarter of 2024. 

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