Diet aids are at a loss

Annual diet aid sales are down more than 15% across the category, and even as diet aid sales spike in the first few weeks of January with 2012 New Year’s resolutions, it doesn’t look like that sales decline will reverse itself in the short term.

But sales of diet aids are historically a cyclical business, which means the “next big trend” has got to be just around the corner.

The leading diet aid, GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli, has been on the sales block for the past year, and the latest trend of celebrity-driven diet aids seems to have run its course — the Kardashian-sponsored QuickTrim is now the 19th best-selling diet aid, with annual sales of $2.8 million and declining at 33.4%, according to SymphonyIRI Group for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart).

Earlier this year, trainer Bob Harper, a popular weight-loss motivator on NBC’s reality series “Biggest Loser,” was featured on a diet aid by Iovate Health Sciences that will go head-to-head against former “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels. The Jillian Michaels brand generated $11.2 million for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4, down 52.2%.

The “Biggest Loser” program started its 12th season in September — since its debut in 2004, the reality TV show has averaged well more than 8 million viewers each airing. However, since Russian tennis phenom Anna Kournikova has signed on as the latest “Biggest Loser” trainer, the most recent ratings report has less than 6.2 million viewers taking in the feel-good weight-loss reality show.

Michaels, meanwhile, has departed “Biggest Loser” to join CBS’ “The Doctors,” which will expose her “brand” to a whole new set of viewers with the move from a prime-time telecast to a daytime telecast. That may breathe new life into her diet aid brand in 2012.

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