Nutritional needs are ‘shifting’ amid rise of weight loss drugs, says Nestle CEO


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The meteoric rise of weight loss drugs means consumers’ nutritional needs are “shifting” which provides new opportunities for food companies, Nestle CEO Mark Schneider told CNBC.

Investors were initially concerned about the popularity of GLP-1 drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic as it was assumed that people on the drugs would consume less food, Schneider told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro.

But that perspective has since changed, he said. “I think what since has emerged is that nutritional needs don’t go away. They’re just shifting. So, you know before, during, after GLP-1 therapy — consumers still have nutritional needs, but they may be different from someone who is not on a weight loss regimen.”

According to Schneider, consumers who are on weight loss medication simply have different nutritional needs. Users of the GLP-1 drugs need to focus more on protein intake to retain muscle mass and ensuring enough vitamins and micronutrients are consumed, he said.

This serves as an opportunity for Nestle to bring science to the table and then “work on what we call companion products, products that really then address some of the specific consumer needs during that treatment,” Schneider said.

‘An interesting addition’ to the food industry

Nestle is looking to capitalize on the popularity of the GLP-1 drugs with its “ambitious goal to push the healthier products,” the CEO said.

The GLP-1 drugs will “certainly be an interesting addition to all the other needs that we’re trying to meet in the food industry,” Schneider told CNBC, adding that even as the importance of the drugs grows, they will not become the sole focus for food and drink companies.

Nutritional needs for users of GLP-1 drugs are 'shifting', Nestle CEO says

While GLP-1 users may look out for products that are tailored to their diet and impacts of the medication such as feeling satiety sooner than before, not all consumers will have the same goals.

“Remember, there’s going to be a lot of consumers out there that are not on an GLP-1 diet. And there is lots of situations where a snack and a chocolate product may still be of a lot of interest. So it doesn’t go away,” Schneider explained.

Consumers will also all be at different life stages, from infancy to the elderly, and therefore have different nutritional requirement that are met with different products, he added.

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