50+ Diet Industry Statistics 2021 [Research Review]

Posted on 02 November, 2023 by Nicholas Rizzo

Quarantine weight gain has affected a lot of people and has caused many to focus on their diet to get back to their pre-pandemic weight. The diet industry is not just about weight loss supplements, but it also encompasses the use of meal replacement products, special diet foods such as low calorie or low carb, diet programmes, and even medical procedures.

To show how massive the diet industry is, we have gone through over 20 sources to highlight some of the most interesting factoids there are in terms of diet food, supplements, programmes, and procedures.

Global weight management industry

  • In 2020, the global weight management market was valued at $439 billion, and is experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8% from 2021 to 2026, and is expected to reach $370 billion by the end of the forecast period
  • According to a report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the global healthy eating, nutrition, & weight loss market segment increased by 4.1% from $647.8 billion to $702.1 billion from 2015 to 2017
  • An online GWI survey conducted on participants from the United States and the United Kingdom revealed that in 2019:
    • 53% of the respondents have tried some type of special diet for one month or longer
    • Some of the popular diets include:
      • Intermittent fasting - 14%
      • Weight Watchers - 10%
      • Gluten-free diet - 8%
      • Keto - 7%
      • Atkins - 7%
  • Meanwhile, in a 2020 survey, GWI revealed that some of the resolutions respondents from the U.S. and the U.K. are planning to do in the following year include:
    • Eating more healthy food - 50% from the U.S., 46% from the U.K.
    • Losing weight - 44% from the U.S., 52% from the U.K.
  • The weight loss diet market in Europe is expected to grow from $2534 million in 2016 to $3120 million in 2025, at a CAGR of 2.3% during the forecast period
  • From $1.3 billion in 2020, the global weight loss app market (apps that monitor lifestyle, diet, weight, exercise) is expected to grow 11% annually, to reach $1.6 billion by 2028
  • The human nutrition market (consumption of supplements, healthy food, increased focus on health and wellbeing) is projected to grow at 6.6% between 2019 to 2025 when it is expected to reach $465.4 billion
  • The personalised nutrition market is expected to double from $8.2 billion to $16.4 billion between 2020 to 2025, growing at 15% yearly during the said period

The U.S. weight loss market

  • In 2021, the U.S. weight loss services industry (diet programmes, fitness classes, medical weight loss procedures) is worth $2.7 billion and is growing at a CAGR of 4.2%
  • In the U.S., the weight loss industry (diet programmes, fitness classes, medical weight loss procedures, diet foods, weight loss supplements, etc) reached $78 billion in 2019, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it decreased by 21% in 2020
  • The revenue of top commercial chains for weight loss (WW, NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, Medifast, and others) was at $3.9 billion in 2020, which was 2.3% lower compared to the previous year
  • Hospitals, clinics, and physician offices that offered medical weight loss programmes saw revenue at $7.78 billion in 2020, which fell by 16.3% from the year before
    • Weight loss surgeries were also expected to decline by 17% because of COVID-19
    • Sales of weight loss drugs that need a prescription were also affected by the pandemic as its revenue was estimated at $590 million in 2020, a decline of 15% from 2019
  • But despite the pandemic, the combined sales of meal replacements and over-the-counter diet pills was forecasted to reach $5.25 billion in 2020, growing 5.4% from 2019
    • Meanwhile, a segment that was not affected by the pandemic was the sales of low-calorie frozen dinners as its revenues reached $2.6 billion, an increase of 12% from the year before
  • According to the CDC, from 2015 to 2018:
    • 17% of American adults were on a special diet (weight loss, low-calorie, low carbohydrate, low-fat, low cholesterol)
      • 19% are women
      • 15.1% are men
    • The percentage of dieters are highest among those aged 60 and over at 19.3%, followed by people aged:
      • 40 to 59 at 19.2%
      • 20 to 39 at 13.3%
  • According to worldometer, people in the U.S. has spent a total of $123.7 million on weight loss programmes as of September 2021

Natural sweeteners market

  • The natural sweeteners market (stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, xylitol, agave) was valued at $9.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.3% until 2026 when it is projected to reach a market value of $12.5 billion
  • By 2026, the revenue for:
    • Stevia is expected to reach $1.05 billion, at an annual rate of 10.6%
    • Natural sweeteners in North America is expected to be worth $2.5 billion, at a CAGR of 4%
    • The use of natural sweeteners in beverages is expected to hit $5.8 billion, at a rate of 4.7% annually
  • The rise in the use of natural sweeteners is due to: 
    • Growing awareness of healthy lifestyle and food choices
    • Rising concern for weight gain associated with traditional sweeteners
    • Growth in the use of natural sweeteners in the beverage industry
    • Increase demand for plant-based sweeteners
    • Growing concern for diabetes and other health issues

Gluten-free food market

  • In 2018, the global gluten-free food market was worth $7.4 billion and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% until 2026, to reach a market value of $15 billion
  • The European gluten-free food market is expected to experience a 9.6% growth during the forecast time period
    • In 2018, Germany's use of gluten-free ingredients in bakery products reached $509.9 million in revenue
    • Meanwhile, gluten-free ready meals and cereals snacks both raked in $111.8 million in 2018
  • The growth of the gluten-free food market is associated with: 
    • Increasing awareness of the benefits of eating gluten-free products
    • Growth in demand for diversified food products
    • Increasing awareness of celiac disease
    • A growing trend in health consciousness to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases

Vegan food market

  • The global vegan food market was worth $12.7 billion in 2018 and it is expected to reach $24.1 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 9.6% from 2019 to 2025
  • the Vegan Food Society stated that the demand for meat-free food increased by 987% from 2012 to 2017
  • Dairy alternatives accounted for 50% of the global vegan food revenue
  • The global plant-based milk market was valued at $12 billion in 2019, growing annually at 11%, reaching $21 billion by 2026 
    • Unsweetened plant-based milk is expected to grow from $6.9 billion to $12 billion by 2026
    • In North America, plant-based milk is projected to reach $6 billion in 2026
    • Soy makes up 11% of the plant-based milk industry
  • In Veganuary 2021, more than 500,000 people pledged to try the vegan diet
  • According to the Plant Based Food Association, in 2019, plant-based:
    • Yoghurt grew by 39%
    • Refrigerated meat demand increased by 37%
    • Ice cream and frozen novelty food by 27%
    • Cheese grew by 19%
  • According to a 2018 survey, the percentage of people who identify as vegans include:
    • 40% of millennials
    • 21% of Baby Boomers
    • 21% of Generation X
    • 2% of seniors

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Use of content

  • If you wish to learn more about the diet industry, you can send your questions to Nick Rizzo at nick@runrepeat.com. He’s also available for interviews.
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Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.