‘Tis the year to lose weight

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, leading up to January 2013, 45% of Americans made a New Year’s resolution. Of those, 38% were weight-related resolutions. In fact, losing weight was the No. 1 resolution, beating out “getting organized” and “spend less, save more.”

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

But this year’s resolutions may carry a little more weight with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Not only will there be an overall emphasis on realizing and maintaining a healthy weight from employers and healthcare payers, but also Medicaid will expand weight-loss counseling to its constituents at little or no cost.

That suggests sales of weight-loss aids will be less impacted by seasonality, while the overall category continues to grow. The category currently stands at $5.4 billion on a growth rate exceeding 8%, according to DSN estimates.

And it’s a savvier consumer shopping weight loss. “[As many as] 95% in the diet category now actually research online before they buy,” noted Jeff McHarg, general manager North America for Soho Flordis. And they’re looking for clinical evidence, he said, and for a simplified regimen. “They want something they can understand how it works,” he said. “People don’t see [weight-loss products] as a magic pill anymore, they see it as a weight-loss aid.”

Nutrisystem continues to make waves at retail, joining its five-day weight-loss starter kit with more traditional meal replacement bar and ready-to-drink shake offerings. Nutrisystem is placing a lot of weight behind its retail roll out — president and CEO Dawn Zier told analysts in October that retail sales accounted for 5% of the company’s revenues in 2013. She expects that to double in 2014.

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