The diet industry is seeing big gains during COVID

Diet companies -- from startup Noom to old mainstay Weight Watchers -- are booming as people fight the weight they are adding during quarantine.

May 13, 2021

Do you still gain weight if you don’t look? (Source: BSIP / Getty Images)

Feel like WFH is making you pack on the pounds? You’re not alone.

A recent study found that people under quarantine gained over ½ a pound every 10 days, per The New York Times.

The extra weight is a major boon for the $61B diet industry

And the evidence is in the numbers:

  • Noom, a startup that offers customized health plans, was downloaded ~4m times in the past year and ranked at the top of the health and fitness category.
  • WW International (AKA Weight Watchers), the well-known dieting brand, now has 4.2m digital subs (+16% YoY).
  • Medifast, a company that sells coaching and meal replacement services, says sales will top $1.4B this year (+2x from 2019).

The high demand for Medifast food items (like the Optavia Sweet Blueberry Biscuits) has caused an eruption of bidding wars on eBay.

The word ‘diet’ is on its way out

Many brands are pivoting from “diet” to “health” and “wellness” — words that appeal to a broader market.

The big elephant in the room, though, is whether these diet health and wellness programs are effective in the long term, or just temporary solutions.

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