How is Ozempic affecting consumers’ food shopping habits? 

Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs are usually prescribed to treat diabetes. Recently, the endorsement of these drugs by social media influencers for weight loss has been very successful in boosting sales. 

However, a recent survey has found that users of these medications are consuming much less food, which is now impacting their shopping behaviours.

The survey was commissioned by the investment bank Morgan Stanley and included respondents who were taking Ozempic, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, Eli Lilly’s Zepbound, and Mounjaro, an injection for diabetes,

The results found that people taking these drugs reported a decrease in food consumption, leading to reduced spending both in supermarkets and at restaurants. 

According to the survey findings, 31% of people using GLP-1 drugs reported decreased spending at supermarkets, while 61% indicated reduced expenditures on take-out meals. Additionally, 63% reported cutting back on spending at dine-in restaurants.

But, Morgan Stanley has expressed some concerns over the effects on businesses and the economy. They suggest that the news could lead to challenges for restaurants and food manufacturers, particularly those producing packaged snacks like Doritos, cookies such as Oreos, and candies like Hershey’s Kisses.

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

In 2023, the high demand for Ozempic led to temporary shortages and raised concerns about counterfeit versions of the medication, which can have huge risks for consumers. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would be seizing thousands of units of the counterfeit product. It urged wholesalers, retail pharmacies, healthcare practitioners, and patients to carefully inspect the products they have received and stop distributing them.

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