A disturbing report was released in September that predicted that nearly half the population would be obese by the year 2030. Many more Americans -- of all ages -- are considered overweight. The findings, released by September 18 by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, assert that more than half the people in 39 states will be considered obese (BMI of 30 or more) by 2030.
BCC Research, a market research firm based in Wellesley, MA, released a report in October 2010 noting that the weight loss products and services in 2009 was worth approximately $121 billion; this was expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.2%, resulting in a projected market worth more than $134 billion in 2014. The heftiest category is in the ingestibles market including foods and beverages valued to be worth $86 billion by 2014.
Nutraceuticals are pegged as the second-largest ingestibles category -- projected to reach $3.9 billion in 2014.
Millions of Americans are doing something to try to get into shape. Many see results, notably those who make long-term lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and exercise. These folks will arrive at a crucial crossroads when they get down to their goal weight/BMI: the maintenance phase. In one study (Wing, Phelan) of people who have lost weight and maintained the lower weight successfully, most continued to eat a diet lower in calories as compared to their pre-weight loss diet.1
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), which identifies and investigates the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss, cites three major characteristics of people who keep the weight off: they continue to follow a healthy and realistic eating pattern, they keep an exercise regimen, and they continue to monitor weight and other health factors.
Often, however, even those who maintain weight still struggle, and can experience fluctuations of five to 10 pounds, what we call "fluctuweightions.” This sector illustrates a huge (pun intended) opportunity for our industry, creating products and brands stories for the growing number of people who want to maintain their new lower weight.
As one example of "fluctuweightion," during stress, the body craves "comfort" foods such as carbs and sugar. Supplements such as a proprietary white kidney bean extract and a proprietary combination of l-arabinose and food-bound chromium can be of significant assistance by helping to thwart full absorption of carbohydrates and sugars, thus allowing the person to indulge a little bit without corresponding pounds.
Although science-backed ingredients such as our Phase 2 and Prenulin (and others in the industry) have clinicals to show they are viable in an active weight-loss program, they are equally effective and attractive for the (hopefully) long-term maintenance phase in the same dosages, notably during times of fluctuweightions.
A suggestion of how to differentiate a maintenance product from a strict loss product would be a multivitamin (or similar overall health/nutrition formula) with the research-recommended doses, or a nutrition bar (sweetened with stevia or luo han guo). Or both!
A key factor is in the marketing story. As "loss" to arrive at goal weight is a limited-time activity, "maintenance" is for the remainder of one's life, so your maintenance brand should be considered a life partner. Social media is going to be imperative here; creating interactive communities under your brand will foster loyal consumer support, not only for your brand but for each other. Working with a nutritionist/dietitian and exercise expert for a blog, social media, or even a national "meet and greet" tour, will also support your brand's leadership and "life partner" perception.
1. Wing RR, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82(suppl):222S-5S.