retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today reports that while health-conscious consumers currently have access to “a full menu of support and strategy options” to help them lose weight - including “apps like and MyFitnessPal, celebs to emulate on Twitter, detox teas and other products peddled on Instagram and Facebook, YouTube fitness moguls with how-to videos, and the camaraderie in closed WhatsApp groups” - for many, traditional and well-known programs still carry significant appeal.

“The main players – WW International (formerly Weight Watchers International), Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig and Medifast – grew 18.1 percent to $3.11 billion in 2018, according to an initial analysis by Marketdata, a Tampa, Florida-based market research firm that tracks the diet market. This year, they're likely to grow 8 percent to 12 percent.”

The story suggests that in part this is because these brands have strong and time-tested images. But it also points out that to varying degrees, they’ve all adjusted to the new world in which they find themselves competing with this trend or that app - they’re using technology to a greater degree than ever, they’ve collaborated with celebrities who have credibility in the space, and they’ve found ways to partner with or be acquired by companies that give them the financial means to innovate.

“Shifting with the trends is what enables these legacy brands, more associated with your mom's – or grandma’s – dieting years ago than hipsters lifestyle choices, to ride the weight-loss-to-wellness trajectory,” USA Today writes. “Then, they loop back to word-of-mouth – whether on social media or in person – to keep business booming.”
KC's View:
I’m not one of them, but I know plenty of people who swear by one or another of these programs as core to their successful weight loss efforts. And I think the lesson about being willing to innovate and shift with trends is an important one that more legacy companies in other categories ought to embrace.