Food brands are cooking up new offerings to pair with weight loss drugs

The world’s biggest food makers have to adapt as weight loss drugs take hold.

We’ve all heard the common question: “Do you want fries with that?”

A weight scale with protein shakes, powder, and bars stacked on top of it on a gray background.

Now, food brands are asking something else: “Do you want a side dish with your Ozempic?”

The use of weight loss medicines like Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy have exploded in the last year, and analysts estimate 7% of the US population (~24m people) will be taking the drugs by 2035.

And because the drugs can reduce calorie intake by up to 30% daily, it’s a trend food companies — and their investors — can’t ignore.

Brands are creating new products to keep up with shrinking consumer appetites, per The Wall Street Journal:

  • Nestle, the world’s largest food company, is working on companion products like shakes and bars that would supplement vitamins and minerals and reduce loss of muscle mass.
  • Abbott Laboratories, which makes Ensure shakes, is working on a new protein drink specifically for weight loss drug patients.
  • Even General Mills is toying with protein-packed products to accompany the new drugs.

And protein shake and powder company BellRing Brands, which has seen revenue rise 22% in the last 12 months, is considering new formulations to include the micronutrients dieters need.

More loss, less cost

Other companies are taking a different approach with new products that mimic the effects of weight loss drugs, without the prescriptions and high prices.

  • Startup Supergut makes prebiotic mixes, shakes, and bars, which it calls “nature’s Ozempic.” It’s seen a 50% increase in sales in the past month.
  • And, in a worrisome trend, supplement brands are slinging berberine, a natural compound found in plants that took off on social media and can carry serious risks.

Whether brands decide to tweak existing products, shrink portion sizes, or launch new, weight loss-friendly options, will likely depend on how many people adopt these drugs.

For now, we’re putting our money on Nestle releasing a protein KitKat.

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