1 In 8 U.S. Adults Have Taken Drugs Like Ozempic

3 weeks ago Nestle will market a new, $5 line of frozen pizzas and protein-enriched pastas in the United States which it says it designed specifically for people taking drugs such as Wegovy or Ozempic for weight loss.

The world's biggest food company, which sells DiGiorno pizza and Stouffer's meals to major grocers, said it developed the new products with more protein, iron and calcium for people taking the wildly popular appetite-suppressing drugs, called GLP-1 agonists.

Tom Moe, president of Nestle USA's meal division, said it will pitch the meals in a new brand, Vital Pursuit, as "food solutions" for people who want to complement their use of the drugs with "the right nutrition - high protein, good fiber, the right minerals," like potassium and vitamin C.

The products, set to hit supermarket shelves in October, are priced at $4.99 and under, a little more expensive than a DiGiorno four cheese personal pan pizza, which is sold at Target for $4.79.

Nestle, whose biggest brands include KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe coffee, started working on companion products to the GLP-1 drugs last year.

"We moved real fast on this," Moe said.

Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said in October the company was “carefully” monitoring whether spreading use of the drugs might dent demand for its food products. He also said at the time that Nestle was working on “companion products” that might serve to limit the "loss of lean muscle mass” in people on the drugs.

Some investors have been worried that food companies will lose sales due to the hunger-suppressing drugs. But executives at companies like Nestle and Conagra see the medications presenting a new opportunity to pitch products such as beef jerky, popcorn and frozen meals. Mondelez executives have said their snack bars fit perfectly into the diet of a GLP-1 patient.

Roughly one in eight U.S. adults have taken the GLP-1 drugs, but Goldman Sachs estimates that 10 million to 70 million U.S. consumers could be taking them in the next four years.

Moe said Nestle spoke with people on the drugs to develop the meals and will be offering them samples soon. The Swiss-based company first introduced the brand to Walmart, and then other big retailers such as Kroger and Target, he said.