The Irish weight management market declined b 7% in current value terms through 2012, reaching a valuation of €7 million.
The level of obesity in Ireland was 11% in 2011, in comparison with the European average of 16%, with 38% of the population classed as overweight, above the European average of 35%. In both instances a greater percentage of men were classed as obese or overweight.
Worryingly, however, the figures are representative of a year-on-year increase. This is despite public health initiatives encouraging Irish people to become more active and to be conscious of their weight, due to the associated health implications of being overweight. Increasingly, these initiatives focus on the prospects for future health, as well as highlighting the dangers of childhood obesity.
Promotional activity remained strong within weight management, especially amongst those products sold in the supermarkets channel, and in particular for those products within meal replacement slimming.
Weight loss supplements, however, witnessed a lower level of promotions and discounts, as a result of these products largely being sold through the chemists/pharmacies channel, in which a lower level of such activity was recorded in general.
Sales of OTC obesity products, particularly Alli, plummeted in 2012, as the company faced production problems, resulting in an inability to supply the product to Irish chemists/pharmacies. Sales were further negatively impacted as Irish consumers became concerned about reports in relation to the possible side-effects of the product.
Whilst these concerns proved to be largely unfounded, Irish consumers failed to be convinced, with the vast majority moving on to new or alternative weight loss products.
The result was a dramatic decline in growth of 70% in OTC obesity, impacting the category overall and resulting in an overall decline of 7% in 2012, despite positive performances for the remaining categories within weight management.
Allegro Holdings led weight management with a 30% value share with its Slim Fast brand in 2012. The product range came under pressure in 2010 from OTC obesity product Alli; however, the subsequent reduction in sales of the latter product resulted in Slim Fast regaining the lost value share and maintaining its leading position in weight management in Ireland. The wide availability of products through supermarkets also served to maintain a strong brand performance.
GlaxoSmithKline (Ireland) saw the biggest decrease in value sales in 2012, with its share declining from 19% in 2011 to 6% in 2012, in light of the production and supply difficulties associated with Alli, with the vast majority of pharmacists unable to secure supplies.
For more information on the Irish weight management market, see the latest research: Irish Weight Management Market
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