Ready meal innovation prominent in ‘high obesity’ countries

Ready meal innovation prominent in ‘high obesity’ countries

Insight by Gama Compass™

MANCHESTER – 13th May 2015: The reality of steadily climbing obesity rates across the world has become a hot political topic and, with the threat of increasingly stringent regulation of high-calorie, high-fat and high-sugar food and drinks ever present, the potential impact of rising obesity levels on FMCG categories is now impossible for the industry to ignore.

In the latest study of recent product launches reported by Gama Compass™, Gama has looked at how launch patterns in food and non-alcoholic drinks relate to levels of obesity: splitting countries by those which have relatively higher obesity rates (>25% of the population – identifed for sake of brevity as ‘high obesity’ countries), and comparing them with those which have medium or low levels of obesity (<25% of the population).

At the category level, a study of the prominence of different segments within the overall NPD mix turned up a number of curiosities.  For instance – and seemingly aligning to a commonly-held perception about the link between convenience foods and higher obesity levels – categories such as ready meals and snacks constituted a far greater proportion of overall NPD in ‘high obesity’ coutries (over 12% of launches in each case)  than in ‘low / medium obesity’ countries (fewer than 8% of launches in each case). In ‘low / medium obesity’ countries, by contrast, categories such as dairy (in particular yoghurt) and staples & baking aids – as well as ‘good for you’ categories such as  fruit & vegetable drinks & juices and packaged fruit & vegetables – emerged as more active areas of new product development.

One potentially surprising result of the analysis was that carbonated soft drinks – very often the first in the regulatory firing line  – actually saw greater launch activity in ‘low / medium obesity’ countries than in ‘high obesity’ countries: the category represented 14% of non-alcoholic drinks NPD in the latter group, but only 10% in the former. In ‘high obesity’ countries, it was in fact hot drinks such as tea and coffee, as well as concentrates and mixes, that saw proportionately higher levels of new product development.

Source: Gama Compass™


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Cesar Pereira, founder & CEO of Gama, is available for comment. To arrange an interview please contact +44 161 818 8700 or

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