Weight loss brands change marketing techniques

Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 18:45:03-05

Major weight loss brands are shifting their marketing focus from numbers to overall health, as sales of diet pills and meals slump.

Mintel, a market research firm, found 94 percent of the 2,000 people they surveyed did not identify as 'dieters.' Researchers also found sales of diet pills dropped 20 percent in the last year.

Weight Watchers is now changing its approach with new programs like 'Beyond the Scale.'

"We now have research that indicates that sugar and fats can lead to disease, and we wanted to make our plan tie into the scientific research," said Linda Reese, a Weight Watchers Ambassador in Colorado. "We also had feedback from our members saying, 'We want to lose weight, but we want to do it in a more holistic sense.'"

The NOW's Anne McNamara spoke to one Weight Watchers customer who agrees the public perception of losing weight is shifting marketing techniques.

"Diet sounds like a death sentence or a curse or something, where healthy is more like, 'Yeah I want to be healthy!'" said Ken Payne, a Colorado member.

Nutritionist Josh Mills, founder of Thrive Health Optimization, says the days of low-fat, low-calorie bestsellers are behind us. He says the market is shifting toward a more sustainable way of eating with an emphasis on whole foods.

"The Weight Watchers, the Jenny Craig, these fad diets, people are waking up," said Mills. "People know this is not the way to do it."

But Reese says Weight Watchers creates a more realistic approach for its clients.

"There are people whose lifestyles only allow them to do frozen meals, so we need to have a way they can do frozen meals, and eat out and get fast food, because that's the way their real life is," said Reese.

No matter which way you get there, the goal is the same, to get Americans healthy again in this new era of the death of the 'diet.'

"It works a lot better for me, because it's a well-rounded thing," said Payne.