The market research company said this week that organic and no-/low-sugar "magic bullets" stand out from the rest for their ability to generate especially strong and sustained growth.
"Clearly, many consumers want to lose weight and eat more healthily overall," said Alice Fawver, senior vice president of marketing for ACNielsen U.S.
"The sales numbers show that people will flock toward diets that promise results. However, keeping people on such diets has proven more challenging. The good-for-you product segments that are enjoying the most sustained success are those that offer health benefits without requiring a whole new way of eating."
Besides the organic and no-/low-sugar segments, those generating consistent year-over-year sales gains included the flax/hemp seed, whole grain, no-/reduced-lactose, and no-/reduced-calorie segments.
While the growth rate for the no-/low-fat product segment has been in the low single digits, it is the largest good-for-you segment with sales topping $32.6 billion in 2004. Therefore, even modest percentage gains translate into significant dollar volume gains.
Good-for-you segments meeting with less success include the no-/reduced-sodium and soy segments.
However, the "carb conscious" segment has been seeing slowing sales since mid-June 2004 when the sector saw a one-week growth rate of over 200 percent.
Nevertheless, foods bearing "low/no"carb labels topped the list of 11 good-for-you segments tracked by ACNielsen for generating the highest growth in the first 12 weeks of 2005 - up 20.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
This sector, however, appeared to see its luck turning during the week of 19 March, 2005, when sales declined 2.5 percent versus the same period last year. It was the first one-week sales loss for the segment since ACNielsen began tracking Carb Conscious products in 2000.