Outlook Is Strong For U.S. Weight Loss Market

Outlook Is Strong For U.S. Weight Loss Market

Sept. 25, 2018

There are very few negatives in this year’s outlook for the U.S. weight loss market. The largest competitors are back in high-growth mode, unemployment is down, obesity rates are still high, and more DIY dieters seem to be joining structured programs. With a strong economy overall, coupled with continued high demand for weight loss programs by a still overweight population, the industry seems to be hitting on all cylinders.

8 Things To Know About The U.S. Weight Loss Market:

The total weight loss market is expected to grow 3.2% in 2018, to a value of $70.3 billion, with commercial chains and meal replacements leading the way.

Millennials now are the largest population group, outnumbering the Baby Boomers. Their weight loss efforts are likely to focus on clean eating, exercise, convenience, and avoiding artificial sweeteners and highly processed foods. This favors Weight Watchers and meal replacements, but not NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, diet soft drinks or artificial sweetener sales.

There is evidence that the size acceptance movement is gaining, as “plus size” models become more popular and women become more empowered. This could be one of the few headwinds for diet companies.

Weight loss services will continue to move toward more retail distribution. Both Walmart and Amazon.com have made it clear that they want to be major players in the healthcare system. We’ll probably see them increase the number of in-store mini-clinics, where weight loss services can be provided, following in the footsteps of CVS, Rite-Aid and other drugstore chains.

Commercial weight loss companies are expected to post another strong year in 2018, helped by a stronger economy and higher disposable income. Weight Watchers is buoyed by a new CEO, a more flexible Points program, and Oprah’s continuing role. NutriSystem should benefit from the newly added South Beach Diet food line. Expect a 12.7% gain in this market segment, to $3.55 billion.

Meal replacements (shakes, nutrition bars) are posting strong growth and are still popular. Sales of shakes and bars will outpace the growth of OTC diet pills to 2022 (7.2% per year vs. 4.8%). This market segment is worth an estimated $4.7 billion in 2018. Multi-level marketing companies such as Herbalife, Shaklee, and Isagenix rack up significant sales and provide a major distribution channel for these products.

The trend toward eating high protein and ketogenic plans should continue strongly.

Untapped and underserved niche markets include: overweight adolescents, seniors, men, overweight Black and Hispanic women, diabetics, people with medical conditions, worksite wellness programs, and persons with food allergies.  Small entrepreneurs and medical diet chains will be the companies most likely to exploit these niches.

Note: These findings and a lot more can be found in Marketdta’s report: “The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market”, May 2017. This is a 400+-page market analysis covering ALL 10 segments of the market, incl. commercial, medical, and retail programs. Marketdata has tracked the weight loss market since 1989, publishing 50+ reports on this topic. Separate reports available for: diet food delivery services, MLM weight loss market, meal replacements, medical weight loss programs.

To obtain a Table of Contents for this report and other diet market studies,  go here:


To Purchase the Report (FS60 ), go here:  ($99 Overview of major findings also available)