U.S. Weight Loss Market To Reach 58 Billion in 2007

2007-04-19 10:51

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. has released a new 393-page study entitled: "The U.S. Weight Loss and Diet Control Market (9th edition)'. This is a complete analysis of the ten major segments of the U.S. diet "industry".

"With no end in sight for America's obesity problem, demand remains strong for all kinds of weight loss programs, fueling a $55 billion U.S. industry. America's estimated 72 million dieters - about 70% of whom try to lose weight by themselves, are fickle and shift from fad to fad diet, as evidenced by the Atkins low-carb mania of 2003-2005. These shifts in dieter preferences spells boom or bust for diet companies," according to Research Director, John LaRosa.

Weight Loss Market 2010 Forecast

Marketdata projects 6.0% annual growth for the total U.S. weight loss market, to $68.7 billion by 2010, with growth rates for individual market segments ranging from zero to 16% per year. Marketdata sees somewhat lower growth overall due to the strong probability of a recession by 2009, if not sooner. This will hurt discretionary income and enrollments in structured programs, and dieters will shift to less costly retail and do-it-yourself options such as: meal replacements, OTC diet pills, mail order plans, diet websites, and fad diet books. In addition, there WILL be competition from at least one and probably several new prescription diet drugs that are likely to be approved for sale in the U.S.

Major Findings

  • Marketdata estimates that the total U.S. weight loss market was worth $55.4 billion in 2006. The market should reach $58.7 billion this year and $68.7 bill. by 2010 (see attachment, table).
  • Retail meal replacements were hit hard by the low-carb craze, but have shown signs of growing once again. We estimate that sales were $1.17 billion in 2006.
  • OTC diet pills market is in turmoil as the FTC fines marketers $25 million and many brands fight for market share and tinker with non-ephedra ingredients.
  • In 2006, 68% of dieters preferred a diet program they could access from home/online/by phone, and 56% want a plan based on regular (not diet) food.
  • Bariatric surgeries reached record levels of 177,000 in 2006, representing a $4.4 billion market. However, major insurers still don't cover these surgeries and growth slowed to only 4%. More obese Americans are having the procedure done in Latin America, where the cost is substantially less.
  • Diet food home delivery grows into an $800 million market segment, fueled by NutriSystem, Jenny Direct, Medifast and a few dozen others. Not all companies provide national delivery. Many only cater to local markets in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, delivering premium priced gourmet fresh food. The average monthly cost for consumers is $725.
  • Diet soft drinks Diet sodas' share of all soft drinks has risen to 29.5%, almost the historical peak, and this is forecast to rise to 31%. This segment was worth $19 billion in 2006.
  • Diet drugs The prescription $459 million diet drugs market did grow somewhat in 2006, but still awaits the FDA's approval of Rimonabant (Acomplia).
  • Market leaders Weight Watchers ($1.2 bill.), NutriSystem ($568 mill.), LA Weight Loss ($500 mill.), Jenny Craig ($462 mill.), Slim-Fast ($310 mill.), Herbalife ($271 mill. " U.S. diet prods. sales).

"Americans are still patronizing scam artists and rip-off weight loss companies as much as they ever have, as they desperately search for the magic formula or plan that makes weight loss effortless," according to Mr. LaRosa.

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