Food giants 'zoning in' on health-conscious parents

BBC Radio 5 Live

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It’s a mixed day for the food giants, with Nestle abandoning its low sugar chocolate range on weak sales, while Unilever is going to stop marketing its products to children to combat obesity.

Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International, says companies are trying to capitalise on our rapidly changing consumer habits.

“Companies are zoning in on being seen as more healthy and not targeting children, but of course its parents who go and buy these for the children so it’s an educational thing," she told Wake up to Money.

“I do think consumption habits are changing vastly, whether it's Nestle looking at its plastic water bottles because people are becoming much more conscious about the environment and their business is suffering, or it's about reducing sugar in its products."

Would you place a bet on losing weight?

BBC Radio 5 Live

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The diet industry is big business - particularly this time of year. In 2018, the sector was worth £147bn globally, according to the agency Research and Markets.

But now there's a new method of shedding the pounds that's raising some eyebrows - placing bets online on your own weight loss.

You bet money that you will lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time, typically 4% of your weight. If you succeed, you get your money back plus a bit, but if you lose, your cash is gone.

Two companies making this trend popular in the US are Dietbet and Healthy Wage.

“The rules prohibit people from anorexia taking part...but if they do, there is little to no financial gain. There is no way to know exactly whether someone has anorexia, but we have a very active community and people will flag it up if they believe someone is using unhealthy methods to lose weight, and we have referees who will investigate," said HealthyWage chief executive David Roddenberry.

“But the alternative is actually scarier. we have an obesity epidemic and the obesity rate keeps rising, not falling, so if we can use gamification as a way to engage with people, we should do that."