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Commercial Diet Companies: 2019 Review, 2020 Outlook

Dec. 30, 2019

Based on 3rd quarter 2019 guidance by each company, it’s looking like the top four weight loss companies will post a collective 3.6% sales increase for 2019 versus 2018, with revenues of $3.21 billion ($3.10 bill. in 2018). Adding in all the other smaller commercial franchises and chains, this segment of the market was worth an estimated $3.86 billion, up slightly from the $3.72 billion of 2018.

Here are the numbers:  ($ millions)

2019 est.                 2018  actual

WW                      $1,400                   $1,514

NutriSystem            692                         691

Medifast                    705                         501

Jenny Craig #         420                        400

Total:         $3,217                   $3,106

# Marketdata estimate

WW and NutriSystem both missed the mark in the 2019 diet season this year, due to marketing mistakes in the 1st quarter. We don’t think they will do that again in 2020. All indications point to the firms being more ready, with major pushes for their new programs. However, it looks like momentum at Medifast has slowed. Don’t expect anywhere near they 40% sales gain expected for 2019.

2020 Outlook

We at Marketdatata have a preliminary forecast for 6.5% growth in revenues for this group of four in 2020 — to $3.43 billion, with the best growth to be posted by WW.

WW... The firm has a new program with more personalization. Members will choose from Green, Blue and Purple plans, based on their taste preferences and eating habits. The firm got a jump on the 2020 diet season by launching early. In addition, ambassador Oprah Winfrey will kick off her 9-city wellness event tour in January.

NutriSystem…  Has a new program based on your body type, individual goals and food tastes, with 41 new food items added. However, they should probably start thinking about a new spokesperson, as Marie Osman commercials are getting tired.

Medifast…  Looks like growth is slowing. Avg. revenue per active coached declined for the first time in a long while, as gross profit margin decline and missed analysts’ estimates. With 32,000 health coaches already, how many more can be added?

Jenny Craig…  Still early to figure out what new owner HIG Capital will do for the company, but there is a bright spot potentially with the new affiliation with Walgreens drug stores. The company will offer its program at 100 Walgreens in 20 states,  starting in January, then expand if successful. In addition, the company is adding DNA testing to its program.

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