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U.S. Weight Loss Market: 2016 Forecasts

Old Models No Longer Work, New Channels Required

John LaRosa, Research Director
John LaRosa, Research Director

"New thinking and new models are needed to compete in today’s weight loss market."

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher of “off-the-shelf” studies about service industries since 1979, has examined diet market segments, company performance, and consumer trends, and predicts several significant forecasts for 2016.

“The diet industry’s growth models of the 1980s-1990s are no longer working. Brick & mortar weight loss centers and franchises don’t meet the needs of today’s dieters and investors and are not profitable due to high overhead costs. Innovative, out-of-the-box thinking is now required to compete in a rapidly changing and more crowded market,” according to Research Director, John LaRosa.
2016 Market Forecasts:

  • Marketdata analysts predict that we will see significant expansion of weight loss programs offered by retailers of all kinds. Walmart has made it clear that it wants to be a major player in the healthcare system, so we’ll probably see them increase the number of in-store mini-clinics, where weight loss services can be provided. They will follow in the footsteps of CVS, which is already offering a weight loss program based on the DASH diet, in its growing number of mini-clinics. Walgreens is the next likely entrant to add weight loss, to compete with CVS.


  • Franchising as a growth model will be less effective, even for medical weight loss companies. It’s tougher today to sell a weight loss franchise that costs $100,000-$400,000, with ongoing royalties of 7-10% being another negative for buyers. Less costly and less restrictive “licenses” will emerge more often, as well as consulting and training programs that teach MDs how to add weight loss to their practice, under a private label brand. This model provides all the business knowledge an MD or Nurse Practioner needs, at a fraction of the cost of a franchise, with more flexibility and a greater choice of different diet plans and services.


  • Meal replacements (shakes, nutrition bars) will trump “diet food” in popularity. They are popular, have no side effects, are not expensive, and are easily available via a wide variety of retailers.


  • More insurers will cover obesity screening and counseling services, even in the 27 states where Affordable Care Act coverage under the $1,625/year Preventative Health Benefit is not provided. It’s a question of economics. The typical cost of a medical weight loss program ($900 for a 6-month plan) is much lower than bariatric surgery ($25,000+), or even the cost of some commercial programs.


  • The deal between Oprah Winfrey and Weight Watchers will raise the marketing bar for all commercial diet programs. We will probably see some of the top players (Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Medifast, Atkins, Slim-Fast) pressured to sign other big name celebrities, to keep pace.


  • Free and low-cost diet and fitness apps will wane in popularity in 2016, as recent studies have shown that they are not very effective for long-term weight loss. Most dieters need personal attention, motivation and comraderie. Apps are impersonal and can’t provide that.


  • Untapped and underserved niche markets will provide the best opportunities for growth (overweight adolescents, seniors, men, overweight Black and Hispanic women, diabetics, people with medical conditions, worksite wellness programs, persons with food allergies).  Small entrepreneurs will be the companies most likely to exploit these niches, since they are basically ignored by the big players.


  • Multi-level marketers (MLMs), despite recent public relations setbacks (Herbalife war with hedge fund manager Herb Ackman), will bounce back and remain a popular distribution method for meal replacements and diet supplements. It’s an attractive home-based, part-time job option for many. However, Marketdata analysts also expect some consolidation among the 25 or so major MLM companies in this market.

All Marketdata studies are independently researched and are “off-the-shelf” reports. Studies are also sold by single chapters. Following are some titles:

  • The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market (covers ALL mkt. segments)
  • Medical Weight Loss Programs: A Growth Market
  • The Multi-level Market For Weight Loss Products
  •  Weight Loss Market Status Reports
  • The Worksite Weight Loss Programs Market
  • The Diet Food Home Delivery Market
  • Weight Loss Websites: The Online Dieting Market.
  • Guide: How To Start and Run A Profitable Weight Loss Business

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., is an independent market research firm and 27-year analyst of the U.S. weight loss industry since 1989.

Marketdata publishes many weight loss market studies covering all diet market segments, performs consulting and custom research projects, teleconferences, and conferences, and has 9 diet market teleseminars on You Tube. It also operates a leading free weight loss news website: Mr. LaRosa is available for interviews.
Contact Information
John LaRosa,
Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., Tampa, FL
Phone: 813-971-8080

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