Diabetes drug Ozempic and other appetite-suppressing medications are set to help overweight Americans cut down on their calorie intake. US food companies are unlikely to sit idly by.
(Bloomberg) — Diabetes drug Ozempic and other appetite-suppressing medications are set to help overweight Americans cut down on their calorie intake. US food companies are unlikely to sit idly by.
“We’re by no means complacent,” Kellanova Chief Executive Officer Steve Cahillane said in an interview Monday.
The recently renamed Kellogg Co. just completed its separation from its North American cereal business, now called WK Kellogg Co. Kellanova is a global snacking company, with brands like Cheez-It, Pringles and Rice Krispies Treats. Snack consumption is on the rise and is expected to continue growing.
Cahillane called it “very, very early days” for the drug but said the company was studying its potential impact on dietary behaviors so it could respond if necessary.
“Like everything that potentially impacts our business, we’ll look at it, study it and, if necessary, mitigate,” Cahillane said, emphasizing that it was premature to make predictions.
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Discussing how his business has responded to similar threats, Cahillane pointed to the UK’s High Fat Sugar Salt regulations, which restricted how certain foods could be marketed. In response, the company changed its formulations and merchandising strategies, Cahillane said. “What happened is, our business wasn’t affected,” he said.
Although prescriptions for these drugs skyrocketed 300% from 2020 to 2022, it’s still too early to know how they will affect consumer behaviors like eating habits on a large scale. Ozempic is made by Novo Nordisk A/S. Last week, an analyst report from Jefferies said Kellogg was among the snack makers with the most potential exposure but noted that the firm couldn’t yet measure any volume shift.
Kellanova is looking at potential penetration levels in both the US and other markets, he said. “Who’s gonna cover it? Who’s gonna be on it? Do they stay on it?” he said, listing questions the company will try to answer. “There’s growing stories about the secondary effects of it, so we’re studying that,” he added.
–With assistance from Madison Muller.
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