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Nestle to launch food products that cater to Wegovy and Ozempic users

High cost of drugs like Ozempic
High cost of drugs like Ozempic a struggle for lower-income patients 03:08

Nestle is launching a new line of high-fiber, protein-packed foods directed at the growing number of Americans on Wegovy or Ozempic, and others trying to lose weight. 

Called Vital Pursuit foods, the products are "well-suited to support a balanced diet for anyone on a weight management journey" the Swiss food and beverage maker said Tuesday, but "are portion-aligned" for consumers taking GLP-1 medications, also known as semaglutides. Twelve newly designed food items — including whole grain bowls, sandwich melts and pizzas — 
will hit select stores nationwide toward the end of this year, Nestle added. 

"We know that every consumer on a health journey has individualized needs and considerations, and having options to support those needs will continue to play an important role," Tom Moe, president of Nestle USA Meals Division, said in a statement. 

Nestle's move comes as GLP-1 medications are becoming more widely used for weight management and other newly discovered potential health benefits. Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy and Zepbound were originally prescribed for managing Type 2 diabetes because they help regulate blood sugar. But the medications also send a signal to the brain that the stomach is full, which leads patients to eat less than they normally would have. 

The drugs' effectiveness in reducing appetite has generated concern from food retailers including Conagra and Nestle, who fear the medications could take a bite out of their profits. 

About 9 million prescriptions were written for GLP-1 medications in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to analytics firm Trilliant Health. GLP-1 users are expected to reach 30 million by 2030, according to JPMorgan, which predicts the semaglutide market will exceed $100 billion that same year. Morgan Stanley Research analysts estimate in a recent report that 24 million people, or 7% of the U.S. population, will be using the drugs by 2035.

As more Americans take GLP-1 medications, Nestle executives "see an opportunity to serve those consumers," Nestle North America CEO Steve Presley said in a statement Tuesday. 

Other food producers see the same opportunity. Vegan meal delivery service Daily Harvest launched a GLP-1 medication friendly line of 15 foods in January that's $20 a day for a five-day meal plan. Abbott Laboratories also announced a protein-laden drink that can be used by consumers taking GLP-1.

Nestle, the parent company of DiGiorno pizza and Stouffer's frozen meals, said it will price each food item at $4.99 but retailers may change that figure. A new line of foods appears to be one of several steps Nestle is taking to capture the weight loss consumer. 

Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said in an earnings briefing last year that the company is developing supplements to help people on GLP-1 medications get the vitamins and nutrients they might need when consuming fewer calories. 

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