The Ozempic diet? Yes, people taking it eat less and spend less on food.

But Wall Street is worried that will hurt restaurants and food manufacturers

Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs, developed to manage diabetes, have become popular ways to lose weight and now we know why. A survey shows people taking the drugs eat less.

A survey conducted for the investment bank Morgan Stanley found people taking these drugs reported eating less and spending less money on food, both at the supermarket and at restaurants.

The survey questioned patients taking Ozempic, Novo Nordisk’s weight loss drug Wegovy and  Eli Lilly’s popular weight loss drug Zepbound and diabetes injection Mounjaro. 

While the results might be good news for consumers, the analysts at Morgan Stanley are expressing concern. Consumer’s improving health, they say, could be bad news for restaurants and food manufacturers, especially the producers of packaged snacks like Doritos, cookies such as Oreos and candy like Hershey’s Kisses.

‘Could affect consumer behavior’

“There is growing evidence that the drugs have a meaningful impact on consumer behavior and spending on groceries and restaurants,” the Wall Street analysts wrote “All of these dynamics suggest GLP-1 drugs’ impact across consumer sectors is set to increase as drug uptake grows and the drugs reshape behavior among a demographic group that represents a disproportionate share of calorie consumption.”

According to the survey, 31% of people taking GLP-1 drugs have spent less at the supermarket while 61% are spending less on take-out. Sixty-three percent reported spending less at dine-in restaurants.

Sarah Herrington, a nutritionist at Brio-Medical, an alternative cancer center, says she hopes the corporate response will be to act on this consumer shift instead of suffering a long-term financial hit.

Could it be a win-win?

“I would expect for the companies and food manufacturers more significantly impacted by this drop in sales to see it as an opportunity to create new menu or commercial options that are either more reasonable in portion size or more nutrient-dense, to cater to these changes in consumer preferences,” she told ConsumerAffairs. 

“As we can see, those who do offer more healthful options are not seeing as significant of a decrease, or any, in consumer sales. These foreseen new products, while smaller in size and denser in nutritional value, are just more likely to come at a higher premium. Ultimately, this could be a huge win for consumers everywhere and positively impact the health epidemics influenced by poor nutritional habits.”

In 2023 the demand for Ozempic produced temporary shortages and warnings about counterfeit versions of the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported seizing thousands of units of the counterfeit product. It advised wholesalers, retail pharmacies, health care practitioners and patients to check the products they have received and not distribute, use, or sell products labeled with lot number NAR0074 and serial number 430834149057. 

Ozempic is specifically prescribed for treating diabetes, while Wegovy is approved for individuals who are overweight or obese. Social media influencers praising them for weight loss have helped to drive sales.

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