Weight-loss services, kits gain repeat customers

The sale of diet aids and weight-management products is booming — approaching the $5 billion mark as an overall category across total multi-outlets, growing at a 12% clip.

But the real opportunity is in weight-loss services. You not only get those return trips for advice and the opportunity to sell additional fitness-oriented products, you have the potential of having a transformed patient who associates "healthy living" with the retail banner.

For example, MinuteClinic's new weight-loss program incorporates the DASH diet. The program includes weekly visits with a MinuteClinic practitioner, as well as nutrition and weight-loss advice — and most insurance plans cover the cost of the program.

Walmart recently adjusted its perception on what meal replacement options consumers would buy in the mass channel with a pilot with Nutrisystem. The initial results were so positive, Walmart expanded that pilot to more than 3,700 locations based on strong consumer demand. "We're seeing repeat business at Walmart, as well as multiple kit purchases, indicating that customers are seeing good results and enlisting other family members to diet with them," noted Dawn Zier, Nutrisystem CEO. "We expect to have additional product and kit to launch in retail for the 2014 diet season."

Within the weight-loss tablet space, GlaxoSmithKline's Alli has been gaining traction with its return to market. Alli, the largest product in the space in terms of dollars, is experiencing 22.7% growth on sales of $62.6 million, according to IRI. GSK is rebuilding this brand under a new marketing campaign branded, "Let's fight fat."
 

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