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American Weight Loss Market Pivots to Survive Covid-19 Slowdown

Some Segments of $71 Billion Industry Do Well

John LaRosa, Analyst
John LaRosa, Analyst

"Some parts of the market are getting hit hard, but others are thriving."

June 1, 2020:   Marketdata LLC, a leading independent market research publisher of “off-the-shelf” studies about service industries since 1979, has released a new 65-page study: Status of The U.S. Weight Loss Market: Effects of The Pandemic . This is a complete analysis and forecast for ALL major segments of the U.S. diet market in 2020.
 “The Covid-19 crisis has forced many weight loss businesses to accelerate their operations toward the virtual delivery of services. Those that can’t make this pivot will not survive this recession.”, according to Research Director, John LaRosa.
Major Findings:
Market Value…  Marketdata estimates that the total U.S. weight loss market reached new highs of $78 billion in 2019. However, with shut-downs that began in March, the market is expected to decline 9% in value to $71 billion this year. Some market segments have actually prospered.
Commercial chains… Revenues of the major weight loss competitors (WW, NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, Medifast, others) are forecast to dip 2.3% to $3.9 billion in 2020. WW Intl. and Medifast are expected to post the best results, while Jenny Craig may be hardest hit.
Meal replacements (shakes, nutrition bars)… Meal replacements and OTC diet pills sales combined are forecast to grow by 5.4% this year, to $5.25 billion--with meal replacements growth outpacing diet pills. These products have largely escaped effects of the pandemic due to their low price, easy availability at grocery and convenience stores, and MLM channels, which remained open during the pandemic.

Medical weight loss programs…   The value of all medical weight loss programs is forecast to decline 16.3% in 2020 to $7.78 billion. This segment of the weight loss market will be hit hardest, due to 8-10 week closures of programs based in hospitals, clinics, and physician offices. Hospitals were scrambling to service Covid-19 patients, not weight loss patients. Weight loss surgeries are forecast to fall by 17%.
Prescription weight loss drugs… U.S. Sales are forecast to decline 15% in 2020 in the U.S., to $590 million, as caseloads at MD offices, clinics and hospitals declined.
Low-cal frozen dinner entrées…  Sales of frozen diet dinners are actually booming. They are forecast to grow by 12% in 2020 to $2.6 billion, as consumers shift to greater usage of convenient and frozen foods. Better packaging and manufacturer product innovations in 2019 have helped significantly.
Diet Soft Drinks & Artificial Sweeteners… Sales are expected to rise 5% this year, continuing the rebound of 2019.
Dieter Behavior Shifts… The Coronavirus has caused some significant changes in consumer behavior. The “traditional “diet season” has been shifted from January-May to the Summer and Fall. In addition, consumers are stocking up on frozen food they shunned just a few years ago. They are accessing weight loss and exercise programs much more via apps, webinars, websites, live streaming, coaching by phone and via home workouts.
Companies that are expected to weather the recession and the pandemic well include: WW Intl., Noom, Herbalife, Medifast, Simply Good Foods (Atkins brand), Nestle (Lean Cuisine), HMR Boston, Glanbia (SlimFast brand), weight loss aps, and meal replacements producers.
About The Report
Status of The U.S. Weight Loss Market: Effects of the Pandemic , published in June 2020, is an independently researched “off-the-shelf” study.  The study is 65 pages in length. It sells for $595. Available in pdf format. A detailed Table of Contents is available at the website or via email. Questions? Contact: Marketdata LLC, 7210 Wareham Drive, Tampa, FL  33647, (813) 971-8080. John LaRosa is available for interviews.
 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. It has published more than 50 in-depth weight loss market studies and holds teleconferences about the market. Custom research projects and consulting are also provided. Mr. LaRosa has consulted for many large and small weight loss companies, physicians, start-ups and entrepreneurs and the media. Marketdata also operates a free weight loss news website:

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