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U.S. Weight Loss Market Grows To $72 Billion

Commercial Chains Outpace Medical Programs

John LaRosa, Research Director
John LaRosa, Research Director

"As the 2019 diet season begins, competitors are fighting for their share."

Tampa FL, February 21, 2019:   Marketdata LLC, a leading independent market research publisher of “off-the-shelf” studies about service industries since 1979, has released its biennial 457-page study: The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market (15th edition ). This is a complete analysis and forecast of ALL major segments of the U.S. diet market.
 “Major changes ae taking place among the $72 billion diet market’s leaders, as Weight Watchers changes its name and focuses on wellness, NutriSystem is acquired by Tivity Health, Jenny Craig is up for sale, and Slim-Fast is acquired by MLM company Glanbia. They are positioning themselves for an increasingly competitive market and shifting dieter preferences.”, according to Research Director, John LaRosa.
Major Findings:
Market Value…  Marketdata estimates that the total U.S. weight loss market grew 4.1% in 2018, from $69.8 billion to $72.7 billion. The total market is forecast to grow 2.6% annually through 2023.
Commercial weight loss chains as a group posted a strong 18% increase in revenues in 2018, to $3.74 billion.  WW (Weight Watchers) and Medifast were the big winners, as well as a fairly new franchise called Profile by Sanford. This segment of the market is forecast to grow 8.6% this year and 6.0% per year through 2023.
Meal replacements (shakes, nutrition bars) are still very popular with dieters. They are sold by retailers, diet companies, MLM distributors and are private labeled by physicians. Sales of meal replacements will outpace the growth of OTC diet pills to 2023  (6.8% per year vs. 5,5%). This market segment was worth a combined $4.7 billion in 2018. Multi-level marketing companies such as Herbalife, Shaklee, Isagenix, Beach Body and more provide a significant distribution channel for these products, since they are safe, portable and inexpensive.

Prescription obesity drugs is a $655 million market that has been flat for years. Sales of the newest medications (Contrave, Belviq, Qsymia) have not gained traction due to cost, insurance coverage and very moderate weight loss. No new anti-obesity drugs are expected to enter the market and gain FDA approval before 2022.  
Weight loss surgeries - An estimated 239,000 were performed in the U.S. in 2018, constituting a $5.98 billion market. The number of surgeries has been growing about 5% per year. Reimbursement for this typical $25,000 surgery remains a problem.
Medical weight loss franchises have seen growth slow since 2017, with some going out of business. Hospitals and independent MDs are trying to figure out how to make a profit and run a successful program. Marketing knowledge, staffing, and competition are proving more difficult than they thought.
Low-calorie (diet) frozen entrée sales have shown some life lately, after years of flat or declining sales.  Producers such as Stouffer’s (Lean Cuisine) and Conagra (Healthy Choice) have turned it around via new items, more natural ingredients and attractive packaging. This is a $1.9 billion market.
Diet Soft Drinks and Artificial Sweetener sales continue to decline. Diet soda sales fell an estimated 1.6% to $18.63 billion in 2018, and artificial sweeteners fell to $2.25 billion. Consumers are avoiding these products in an effort to “eat clean”.
Millennials represent the future generation of dieters, now surpassing Baby Boomers in number. Diet companies will need to reach them via social media and influencers, with affordable programs, apps, virtual weight loss program options, and peer community support. They don’t like structured plans involving personal visits to a brick & mortar weight loss center.
Untapped Niche Markets…  American diet companies will seek to boost revenues by looking at under-served markets and niches, such as: Millennials, the men’s market, teen market, African-American and Hispanic markets, the diabetic market, the elderly market, the worksite-based B2B market, and overseas markets.
“In today’s competitive weight loss market, diet companies must find untapped niches, and offer consumers customization and personalization, plus offer both virtual and off-line  programs, at different price points. They’ll also need to use alternative distribution channels such as: MLM, retail healthcare mini-clinics, etc. In addition, they must figure out how to reach overweight Millennials and not chase aging Baby Boomers forever.”, according to John LaRosa.
About The Report
The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market, published in February 2019, is an independently researched “off-the-shelf” study.  The study is 457 pages in length and contains 160 tables/charts and 38 in-depth competitor profiles. It costs $1,895 and is also sold by individual chapters at lower cost.  Available in pdf format. A detailed report Table of Contents is available by email and at the website, or Contact: Marketdata LLC, 7210 Wareham Drive, Tampa, FL  33647, (813) 971-8080. John LaRosa is available for interviews. A 44 pp. Overview summary of major findings is available for $99, at:
About Marketdata
Marketdata is a private market research and consulting firm that has specialized in the tracking and analysis of the weight loss market since 1989—30 years. It has published more than 50 in-depth weight loss market studies and regularly holds teleconferences and webinars about the market. Marketdata tracks dozens of service and  healthcare markets. Mr. LaRosa, President, has consulted for large and small weight loss companies, physicians, start-ups and entrepreneurs and the media. Marketdata also operates a free weight loss news website called


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