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Until recently, diets in the US and Canada typically focused on limiting fat rather than increasing it. Health experts agree that following a low-fat diet helps lower the risk of developing heart disease, gaining weight, or having certain types of cancers. Trends in weight loss diets and sports nutrition products that limit carbohydrates have changed the focus to higher fat diets in general and “phat” fats in particular.

The Atkins diet was one of the first to advocate for a high protein, high fat, low carb diet for weight loss. The original diet encouraged liberal amounts of fatty foods such as steak, bacon, and butter. Subsequent weight loss diets adapted the Atkins high fat/low carb theme, including the fat-rich paleo diet. The premise of the paleo diet – returning to the imagined diet of prehistoric ancestors – emphasizes animal protein sources, nuts, coconut, and fruit oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and palm oil. Paleo diets propelled coconut and coconut oil into the ingredient spotlight.

The newer keto diet matches or exceeds the popularity of the paleo diet, particularly among older Millennial and younger Gen X adults in the US. Modified from a clinical nutrition diet for people with severe kidney disease that causes the body to produce ketones, the keto diet derives most of its calories from fat and the remainder from protein. In 2019, one in six launches with a fat-related claim and phat fats carry a keto diet claim, a nearly 300% growth from 2017.

Products with phat fats typically offer a range of holistic benefits. Health claims include performance, weight loss, and gut health, the fastest growing health claim between 2017 and 2019. Fats usually are not associated with digestive health, so the prominence of this claim on products with phat fats may be part of a trend toward multiple wellness claims on a single product. Product features such as gluten free, non-GMO and plant based, support the desire of consumers for products that appear to be clean, environmentally friendly, and less focused on animal products.

Califia Farms Keto Creamer (US, Aug 2020), Plant Works Chocolate Flavored Plant Protein Powder Supplement With Super Herbs (US, Aug 2020), Newmans Own Avocado Oil And Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dairy Free Caesar Dressing (US, Aug 2020), Mct Bar Lemon Boost With Collagen Plus Immunity Blend Keto Bar (US, Jul 2020).

Fast growing phat fats and oils associated with trending diets include avocado oilMCT oil and ghee MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oils previously were used only in medical products. They help generate ketones that signal the body’s switch from burning carbs to burning fat. MCT is popular among consumers trying to lose weight or improve sports performance. Ghee has moved into the spotlight from its traditional niche in South Asian cuisines. Hemp oil is the fastest growing phat fat because of its CBD content rather than for specific health benefits.  

Soft drinks, a category that includes meal replacements and powdered beverages, are the fastest growing category of products with phat fats. Consumer expectations regarding the overall healthfulness of meal replacements is helping drive the addition of phat fats to these products. Dairy alternative drinks are another hot category for phat fats as they differentiate themselves from dairy milk. Phat fats also appear in supplements. 

“Phat Fats ” is a new Ingredients Insider report from Innova Market Insights, which brings together consumer research, market sizes, company analysis and a review of new product trends and activity to demonstrate just how the picture has been changing and to suggest where the future opportunities can be found.