I saw this going viral: Walmart says users of weight loss drugs are buying less food, and a related Elon tweet:
Amazing that Ozempic is actually affecting @Walmart food sales!
While no drug is without side effects, health problems associated with obesity almost certainly exceed the risks of GLP-1 agonists.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2023
Is it that big of a threat? Many of the health consequences of obesity are age-related, with the obesity being secondary. For example, if an obese person gets a stroke at 67 instead of 70 as predicted by the stats for non-obese persons, how much did the obesity really contribute vs the fact he was almost 70? Plus, there are many old obese people who seem healthy and fully functioning, such as Steve Wozniak, 73, William Shatner, 91, and Jack Nicholson, 86,. Even Trump is obese and seemingly healthy and vigorous at 77. These are examples that came off the top of my head; it’s not like I had to dig deep to find any.
Are these GLP-1 weight loss drugs a threat to restaurants and food companies, such as McDonald’s and Walmart? Very unlikely, negligible to none. Strait from Walmart CEO John Furner, ‘The pullback has been “just less units, slightly less calories,” Furner said.’ So it’s only a small amount. But this remark has been blown way out of proportion by the media.
Here are many reasons for why this is not a big deal:
-Companies can respond to falling quantity by keeping the prices the same and making the portion sizes smaller, which is already happening (shinkflation).
-These drugs have a very long way to go until they hit peak market saturation, owing to high price, side effects, etc. Many overweight/obese people will not use them for these reasons and others. Or discontinue using these drugs.
-The success rates of these drugs is highly variable, with some people losing a lot of weight and having major appetite reduction, whereas others lose much less weight and retain their appetites. So this means even with Mounjaro and Ozempic having full market penetration, there will still be a lot of obese and overweight people, just not as many as there would be otherwise.
Elon, for example, has been on Ozempic for a year, losing 20 lbs, which isn’t that great given how big and heavy he was (and still is, going by recent photos of him and the fact he’s over 6 ft tall). It would seem as if the drug didn’t work that well for him. He never achieved the characteristic facial thinning that is typical of substantial weight loss.
-It’s not so much that Walmart is threatened by these drugs, but disclosing the risk is more of a CYA move to prevent possible litigation by not disclosing it, however tiny it may be.
-Less spending on food can be negated by increased spending on other things.
-Formerly-obese shoppers may prioritize junk food and fast food over healthier food, but in smaller quantities. This was the case for me. Despite losing a lot of weight, I still eat crappy food admittedly.