Blood sugar management has finally become a very hot market. But, while many marketers mistakenly think that interest in blood sugar control is primarily being driven by the growing diabetic population, for the most part, it’s all about weight.
Of the 54% of Americans who were watching their diet in 2009, 23% were trying to control their blood sugar level; 15% were trying to manage diabetes (Mintel’s “Weight and Healthy Eating-US-2009”). According to Diabetes Daily (1/21/10), 46% of diabetics modified their diet slightly in 2009, but 33% couldn’t monitor their diet to successfully control their diabetes.
And with four in 10 U.S. adults currently trying to lose or maintain weight, according to Packaged Facts, (May 2010, “Weight Management Trends in the U.S.”), blood sugar management will be an enormous new weight control opportunity.
The blood sugar-weight connection first surfaced during the 2001-2004 low-carb movement. Since then, markets, terms and some ingredients associated with blood sugar are starting to gain strength, including the Glycemic Index, low glycemic foods/beverages and others.
According to Sloan Trends TrendSense model, interest in blood sugar control and blood sugar management for obesity/overweight are both fast accelerating, “Level 1” mass market opportunities that show little sign of slowing down.
Although blood sugar was flirting with crossing over into the Commercialization Phase—indicating a viable mass market opportunity—during the low-carb era, it wasn’t until the end of that movement in 2004 that Medical Research/Counts accelerated at a very rapid pace for both blood sugar management and blood sugar/obesity/weight. This caused the consumer marketability/receptivity curve to take off, right on target with the traditional two-year lag expected after a major “Medical Count” increase.
On the other hand, although blood sugar/energy crossed into “Popularization” during the low-carb era—indicating its appeal to health food specialty channel consumers and very health conscious and condition-specific shoppers—it has not yet crossed over the “Medical Threshold,” which means it currently lacks the scientific support necessary to drive a potential long-term market and will likely remain a short-term fad.