Nov 13, 2018

Anti-Obesity Beverage Sales to Ride the Coattails of Taxes on Sugary Drinks and WHO Recommendations on Sugar Consumption

by Team Fact.MR

Obesity has become a pandemic ailment, with over 13% of adults of 18 years old and above witnessed to be obese and more than 35% adults to be overweight in 2016, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO further stated that over 340 million children were overweight in 2016. Obese and overweight children are at high risk of developing health disorders such as asthma, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been high in several parts of the world, suggestive of low dietary quality. Presence of sugars including fructose and sucrose in large amounts significantly contributes to overall energy density, which in turn has resulted in unhealthy weight gain among adults and children alike. The WHO has recently developed guidance on intake of free sugars, based on their impact on dental carries and weight gain. These recommendations aim at reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in order to curtail risk of obesity and overweight.

Anti-obesity beverage have gained widespread acceptance in recent years, in line with the upward health & wellness trend. Worldwide sales of anti-obesity beverages are envisaged to reach nearly 14,000 liters in 2018. Popular beverages such as tea are now being perceived as convenient way to include formulations or compositions with anti-obesity properties, in turn reducing effort, money, and time on medicines independently.

Sugary Drinks Tax – Effective Measure to Combat Obesity Prevalence

Following recommendations from WHO, several countries currently tax sugar drinks, exempting bottled water, pure fruit juice and diet soda. The soda industry has already made huge investments for combating taxes on sweetened beverages – a popular approach to curtail obesity prevalence. Several manufacturers have also entered into relationships with professional societies such as Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, scientists, and doctors.

Sugar taxes, while acclaimed by health experts as effective measure to combat obesity, are witnessing reluctance from the industry and politicians. Drinks are an easy target as identification of sugary drinks and relevant manufacturers is easy, and they can be taxed at production stage. The prospect that taxes on sugary drinks will reduce obesity is underpinned by a study published in journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which states that reductions in consumption will pose positive impact on health outcomes, while curtailing healthcare expenses.

Combination of FOSHU and Regular Exercise – Effective Solution for Maintaining Body Weight

According to researchers from Kyoto University, impacts on anthropometry of many lipid-related FOSHU – foods for specified health uses, which are approved in Japan, find low palpability outside the country. These researchers examined consumption of lipid-related FOSHU beverages and regular exercise on transformations in body weight, and found that greater frequency of FOSHU intake was associated with smaller changes.

Results of the study allude effective maintenance of body weight through combination of lipid-related FOSHU and regular exercise. Currently, these researchers with the aid of healthcare institutions and government support are focusing on enhancing popularity of these beverages beyond country.

Apart from aforementioned efforts of researchers, leading players in the industry are also taking measures to combat obesity through launch of healthier drinks. For example, PepsiCo recently announced its acquisition of SodaStream to tap into the healthy drinks market. This acquisition is also aimed in part to offset revenue decline on the back of anti-obesity sugar taxes worldwide.

The insights presented here are based on a market intelligence study by Fact.MR. A sample of the study is available upon request.