Market research company Datamonitor has forecast that British consumers' spending on diet products will break the GBP5bn (US$9.8bn) barrier in 2007, making the UK one of the biggest diet markets in Europe. 

A growing number of diet food and drinks are hitting supermarket aisles, and satiety - which literally means 'feeling full' - is likely to be the new diet buzzword for the food and beverage market in 2007 and beyond. 

However, some bad habits will remain, the researcher said. UK consumers are still prone to skipping breakfast on a regular basis, even though it is acknowledged to be the most important meal of the day.  In 2007, a typical UK consumer will skip over 90 breakfasts a year, Datamonitor noted.

A third of UK consumers say that they have chosen more natural and organic food and drinks over standard variants over the past year. The UK organic market continues to expand as more consumers embrace healthier eating, Datamonitor reports, forecasting that the market will grow by a further 5% in 2007 from its current level of GBP1.7bn.

There is growing evidence that consumers are increasingly attracted to locally grown and raised foods, according to Datamonitor. "The concept of 'Food Miles' is gaining traction, a concept that communicates the high-energy consumption required to bring foods from far-flung areas to market," the researcher said. "It isn't too far fetched to speculate that we might see carbon ratings on packaged foods and beverages to encourage energy conservation and fight global warming."