Companies in this industry provide nonmedical weight loss services and products that include counseling, food supplements, menu and exercise planning, and body measurement and weight monitoring. Major companies include Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutrisystem (all based in the US), as well as Dukan Diet (France), Nutrition & Diet Center (Saudi Arabia), and Rosemary Conley Online (UK).
Excess weight is drawing concern around the globe. Traditionally a problem in developed economies, overweight and obesity rates have been increasing in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly 40% of the world's adults are overweight, and 13% are obese, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The US weight reduction services industry includes about 3,200 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $2 billion.
The industry doesn't include companies that provide medical or surgical weight reduction or companies that operate physical fitness facilities, health resorts, or spas. Fitness centers, health supplement stores, and spas are covered in separate industry profiles.
Consumers' excess weight, personal income, and leisure time drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective marketing, customer acquisition and retention, and efficient operations. Large companies have advantages of scale in marketing, infrastructure, and partnerships, such as licensing deals for private-label products and foods. Small companies can compete effectively by offering individualized services or upscale facilities. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 80% of industry revenue.