The US weight loss market in 2019 is still booming-the diet industry has grown to a record $72 billion. This growth is expected to reach $253 billion in the next five years, though fewer Americans report being on a diet, likely due to the body positive movement that promotes health and acceptance at every size. What trends make up this multibillion-dollar health and fitness industry? DIY fitness and diets, meal replacements and supplements, and clean-eating millennials.
The Diet Industry, Inc.
Commercial weight loss enterprises, which have been declining in popularity, have been shifting gears. Weight Watchers recently rebranded as WW, with a focus more on overall health rather than solely on weight loss. The company has seen some slow and steady growth, as has Medifast and newcomer Profile by Sanford, which offers customized plans based on genetic profiling. Weight loss businesses are still around, but are losing ground to DIY and fad diets.
Meal Replacements and Supplements
Even as traditionally popular diet methods such as commercialized weight loss are losing ground, meal replacements, including shakes, nutrition bars, and supplements, are still commonly used by dieters. This segment of the health market was worth $4.7 billion in 2018, and its growth is anticipated to outpace diet pills. Many of these meal replacements and supplements are sold by diet companies, retailers, and diet industry MLM distributors.
A popular dieting trend, especially among Millennial dieters, is a focus on “clean eating”-an emphasis on whole, natural foods over processed foods, preservatives, GMS, and artificial flavors and sweeteners. This trend is forcing the manufacturers of frozen dinners and other diet foods to rethink and reformulate their offerings. Sales of diet soft drinks have also fallen by 1.6% in 2018 due to the clean eating trend.
Working out at the gym is an important part of health and fitness to today’s dieters. A growing trend toward “do-it-yourself” diet and exercise is becoming popular through the availability of free or inexpensive diet and exercise smartphone apps. Dieters can use and customize available technology and fad diets, such as keto or intermittent fasting diets, to craft fitness plans that work for them.
The diet industry is always changing, with new fads and trends cropping up every few years. Influenced by technology and popular culture, today’s dieters have a number of resources available to meet their health goals.