Summary of our market study

The dietetic foods market has experienced significant growth reaching a value of €2.78 billion in France. Globally, the health and wellness food market is projected to grow from US$733.1 billion in 2020 to US$1 trillion by 2026. This surge is driven by rising health concerns, such as increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, with diagnosed cases under care reaching 4 million. The demand for gluten-free products remains substantial, constituting one-third of the dietetic sector's sales, as more individuals adopt gluten-free diets due to health conditions or personal choice.

Large food corporations and specialized dietetic food companies are the key market players, with the former using existing distribution networks and the latter focusing on specialized stores to cater to a more health-conscious consumer base. Prices for dietetic products are significantly higher than their standard counterparts, with some diet food items costing up to eight times more. Regulations such as the European Directive 89/398/EEC and Regulation number 1924/2006 play a crucial role in market oversight.

Rising Health Awareness Drives Demand for Dietetic Foods in Evolving Market

In recent years, the demand for dietetic foods in France has witnessed a notable upsurge, powered by an acceleration in demographic health issues such as obesity and diabetes. The market experienced a robust growth of approximately 25%, reflecting an evolving consumer behavior towards healthier eating. Despite a steadily growing market, dietetic foods face stiff competition from other trends like natural, home-made, and organic foods.

Obesity and overweight issues have consistently risen, with nearly half of the French population falling into this category, marking an increase of about 9%. The prevalence of obesity has doubled, indicating a concerning health trend among the populace. Obesity distribution varies by region, with areas such as Hauts-de-France demonstrating a higher rate than the national average. In terms of demographics, age and occupational category show variances with older individuals above 55 years experiencing higher rates of overweight and obesity. Workers and employees are notably affected, with over half in these groups falling into the overweight category. Furthermore, diabetes management has climbed, with the number of individuals treated for the condition jumping significantly from between 3 to 4 million in just a three-year span, the majority being cases of type 2 diabetes.

The gluten-free market sector presents an intriguing case. Accounting for a substantial share of health food sales, gluten-free products continue to attract both individuals with celiac disease and a growing number of 'gluten-sensitive' consumers. This marked interest is expected to propel further market expansion with recognition from regulatory bodies and endorsements from celebrities contributing to its popularity. In line with health being a prime concern, the French show a pronounced preference for healthy eating, even surpassing physical activities in terms of lifestyle choices. Popular diets such as flexitarian have gained traction among a significant minority of the population, while the inclusion of 'free-from' options like gluten-free or lactose-free is practiced by a notable fraction of individuals. Sports nutrition is also a burgeoning segment with increasing sports club registrations indicating a larger market for sports-related dietary products.

A majority of French individuals express a desire to lose weight, with a considerable portion planning diets—a trend that underscores the broadening scope for dietetic foods. The dietetic foods market is characterized by fierce indirect competition. With a growing awareness about healthy eating, consumers often choose alternatives like seasonal, organic, and fair trade products, posing a challenge to dietetic food.

The Central Players Shaping the Dietetic Foods Market Landscape

In the rapidly growing dietetic foods market, various players, ranging from specialized niche firms to global food giants, are vying for a piece of the pie. Their strategies and offerings are as diverse as the consumer needs they aim to fulfill, and they all contribute to the dynamic nature of this sector.

  • Specialized Nutrition Experts

    • Paving the way companies like ABCD Nutrition and Nutrisens have carved out a space for themselves by focusing primarily on the development of dietetic foods. ABCD Nutrition, with its strong R&D investment, is continually innovating in the gluten-free space, launching new products and even creating new brands like Naten to cater to specific niches within the larger market. Nutrisens takes a similar approach, offering an array of diet-specific foods that cater to medical requirements and personal health goals.

    • Herbalife and Pro Dietic—Catering to specialized diets herbalife and Pro Dietic are two other noteworthy players that have zeroed in on specialized dietary needs. Herbalife has made a name for itself in the world of supplements and meal replacements, ideal for weight management and nutritional balance. Pro Dietic, on the other hand, offers targeted nutrition solutions that cater to a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences, ensuring that consumers have access to the specialized foods they require.

  • Global Food Conglomerates

    • Diversifying Their Offerings Global food corporations such as Nestlé, Danone, Unilever, Ebro Foods, and Lactalis have also taken significant steps to establish their presence in the dietetic foods market, expanding their product lines to include health-focused alternatives. These conglomerates leverage their expansive distribution networks and strong brand recognition to offer consumers an array of options, from lactose-free yogurt by Danone to Nestlé's gluten-free "Harry's Si Bon!" bread. Danone’s acquisition of plant-based pioneers like WhiteWave and Earth Island further exemplifies how these giants are branching out to capitalize on new market segments.

    • Herbalife’s commitment to nutrition and Health Herbalife has been synonymous with nutrition and weight management products. As a global nutrition company that has been in the market for decades, Herbalife provides a wide range of products, including protein shakes, snacks, vitamins, and sports and energy products designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. They stand out through their direct-selling model, which focuses on personalized nutrition and community to support consumers in achieving their health objectives. 
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market definition and scope

Dietetic foods are one of the components of the global nutrition-health market. dietetic foods are defined as "foods intended for particular nutritional uses which, by virtue of their particular composition or manufacturing processes, are clearly distinguishable from foodstuffsfor normal consumption, which are suitable for the stated nutritional purpose and which are marketed in such a way as to indicate that they meet that purpose. foodstuffs, which are suitable for the stated nutritional purpose and which are marketed in such a way as to indicate that they meet that purpose".

In recent years, this market has seen its growth accelerate (+25% between 2015 and 2020). This growth can be explained by important demographic phenomena such as the increase in the number of overweight people and the increase in the number of diabetics in France. However, this market is strongly competed by other healthy food trends such as natural products, home-made and organic food.

On this growing market, newcomers are developing (notably the large food groups but also the players in mass distribution with the development of their own brands) and the phenomenon of concentration is intensifying(via the external growth of many majors in the food industry such as Herta or Danone). Faced with this situation, specialized players such as ABCD Nutrition are conquering new niches with the launch of new products or new brands, such as Naten in the cookies department.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Size of the global health and wellness food market
  • Breakdown of sales (in value)
  • Size of the health food market
  • Evolution of obesity and overweight in the French population
  • Evolution of obesity in the population by gender
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Latest news

Fleury Michon, the king of ham, bets on plant-based products with vegetable slices - 28/03/2024
  • - Fleury Michon sales: 795 million euros.
  • - Products offered: three legume-based products (coral lentils, chickpeas, white beans)
  • - Target market: 50% of consumers in France claim to be flexitarians.
  • - Annual decline in the pork ham market: 2% to 3% in volume since 2015
  • - Estimated supermarket delicatessen market for plant-based products: close to 150 million euros, up by around 3% in volume.
  • fleury Michon's "nitrite-free" market share: 62% of sales.
Danone opens a second plant for plant-based products in France - 12/02/2024
  • Danone inaugurates a new plant dedicated to the manufacture of dairy alternatives in France
  • Danone has completely converted its Villecomtal-sur-Arros yogurt plant in the Gers department into a unit dedicated to Alpro-brand plant-based beverages. 43 million euros of investment
  • Production, mainly of oat juice cartons, is 90% destined for Europe.
  • Danone now has four milk-alternative production units in Europe. Two in France, at Issenheim and Villecomtal in the Gers region, one in Sweden, at Lunnarp, and the fourth at Wevelgem in Belgium.
  • Vegetable-based products have become "a strategic focus" for the world's number one in ultra-fresh products.
  • Danone took the t turn in 2017 with the $12.5 billion acquisition of US group WhiteWave.
  • In France, ultra-fresh products are deeply rooted in diets.
  • Plant milk accounts for just 4% of the traditional dairy products market by volume and 7.4% by value.
  • The plant-based milk market is worth 165 million euros, according to FranceAgriMer.
  • More than 6 out of ten people in France in the 18-24 age bracket eat plant-based products several times a week, according to lDanone
  • Many dairy groups, including Triballat, Nestlé and Bel, have chosen to develop plant-based ranges.
  • Retail chains are present under their own brands (MDD).
Nestlé sells its Natur baby food products to FNB - 06/02/2024
  • nestlé is the world's leading food company.
  • FNB is a French investment fund specialized in SMEs in the food sector.
  • Nestlé is in exclusive negotiations with FNB for the sale of its baby food business in France.
  • The products concerned are NaturNes baby foods, Babicao and Babivanille baby powders and the P'tit yogurt range.
  • These products are manufactured at the Arches plant.
  • Worldwide sales of Nestlé infant formulas have increased by more than 10%.
Suppliers refuse to accept Lactalis' proposed milk price increase - 05/02/2024
  • - The price revised in January by Lactalis is 405 euros per 1000 liters, increased to 420 euros per 1000 liters in 38/32 for February.
  • - Taking all premiums into account, the remuneration paid to producers was 460 euros per 1000 liters for the first two months of the year.
  • - Unell, which represents over 4,000 dairy farms, delivers over 2 billion liters of milk to Lactalis.
Nestlé France sells its baby food products to Mousline - 02/02/2024
  • Nestlé is negotiating exclusively with the French investment fund FnB the sale of its baby food business.
  • These include the ranges of soups, purees, desserts and breakfast powders under the NaturNes, Babicao and Babivanille brands, as well as the P'tit franchise.
  • Infant milks, the bulk of the portfolio - with Laboratoires Guigoz and Nestlé Nidal - remain in the Nestlé France fold.
  • The infant nutrition products that are the subject of this sale are produced in a factory in the Vosges region of France that employs 230 people.
  • FnB, the potential buyer, specializes in supporting French SMEs in the food industry.
  • The baby food market fell by 6% in volume last year in France due to the falling birth rate, with a sharper decline in milks than in diversification foods.
  • Nestlé has 14 factories in France.
Danone sells its US organic dairy business to Platinum Equity - 02/01/2024
  • Danone has signed an agreement to sell its US organic dairy business to Platinum Equity.
  • The sale concerns the Horizon Organic and Wallaby businesses.
  • By 2022, Horizon Organic and Wallaby represented around 3% of Danone's total sales.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :
Danone Groupe
Fleury Michon
Ekibio (Groupe Lea Biodiversité)
ABCD Nutrition
Biscuits Bouvard Groupe
Bjorg (Ecotone)
Lactalis Groupe
Nutrition & Santé Groupe
Nestlé Groupe

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