Who Spends The Most On Weight Loss Products?

Weight loss concoctions, urgh, I can hear you snort with palpable disdain. I’m sure most of us have brushed up against these foul things at least once in our lives.

I remember buying some fibre tablets when I was a dumpy teenager. The idea was that they would swell up in your stomach and give you a feeling of fullness. They were like huge wooden pellets and made me gag when I tried to swallow them. As for the ‘slimming’ effect… well… erm… at least they kept me regular. I also bought a packet of slimming pills back in the 80s, but after reading through a long list of bone-marrow-curdling side effects (one of which was ‘personality changes’…!?!), they duly ended up in the trash.

OK, so maybe I wasn’t exactly a poster child slimming aids consumer, but as a product category, slimming aids are hugely successful. According to the magic database, hopeful dieters spent US$13.3 billion on these products last year.

Enticing colour...!

Enticing colour…!

Meal replacement slimming products (think Slim Fast shakes and those beefed-up-with-vitamins snack bars that taste like cardboard, which you’re meant to be eating instead of real food) made up the bulk of sales, raking in almost US$7 billion in 2012. And there’s no prize for guessing who forks out the most. Of course, it’s the US, generating just over one third of global sales, followed by South Korea, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Italy. South Korea, surprisingly, has a higher per capita spend on meal replacement products than the US. Go figure!

The US and Japan (Japanese women are notoriously weight obsessed) feature as the top consumers of weight loss supplements, which amassed US$4.5 billion in value sales world-wide in 2012. Those fibre tablets I mentioned would fall into this category. Mexico, Taiwan and Russia are the next big spenders.

Slimming teas, surprisingly enough, is the category which grew the fastest in 2012 in terms of value sales. China is the biggest market for weight loss tea, followed by Russia, Taiwan, the US and Thailand.

Slimming Tea

I just love the product info for this Chinese brand:
This product is manufactured after strict checkout and authorized by national sanitation department, which takes jiaogu cyan, gingko leaves, tea polyphenols and lactose as main raw material. After making the function test, it proves that this product has health care function of reducing weight.
1. This product can not replace medicine.
2. It should stop using this product when weight reaches normal weight.

Improper object: Pregnant women and lactation mother

I don’t know about you, but I can feel a coffee & cake session coming on…

[For data source, click here]


8 thoughts on “Who Spends The Most On Weight Loss Products?

    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      The portion sizes over there are so ginormous that each single meal provides enough calories for an entire day. Replacing one of those meals with a shake is a mere drop in the ocean.


  1. Kristin

    Urgh, I cannot believe that people still fall for that! (And in view of all the obese people here, I cannot believe that Mexico ranks so high on the list, another proof that this crap doesn’t work.)
    Of course, I tried it, too, once: I was working in NY at a time when in Germany we didn’t have all this low-fat / non-fat nonsense. Just reading those words on the packaging made me become obsessed with that subject, so I only went for the plastic non-fat options. Sure enough, I gained quite some weight – and tried to ward it off by grabbing slim fast drinks. After 2 months I had gained almost 20 pounds!
    Yes, I agree, cake is always the healthy alternative! 😉


    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      LOL! I remember once, in a US supermarket somewhere in Massachusetts, there was a pile of broccoli in the veg aisle with a big sign overhead declaring the produce to be “0% fat”.


  2. Anna

    So, in high school, I gained weight on Slim Fast. I fell in love with their dark chocolate shakes and would down 4 in a row, for dessert. Definitely defeated the purpose…



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