By Matt Pillar, chief editor
July 2013 Integrated Solutions For Retailers
Medifast, Inc. keeps up with incredible U.S. retail weight-loss product growth by focusing on rapid replenishment through cross-channel retail operations.
The U.S. weight loss products industry has expanded rapidly in recent years, in direct correlation with the expanding waistlines of its customer base. Today, this highly fragmented, multi-tiered and multichannel market is led by household name brands including Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and $356 million Medifast, Inc., a quicklyrising brand that’s posing a market share challenge to the well-branded front runners in the industry.
The story of the Medifast insurgence is one of a truly clinically proven, physician-recommended portioncontrolled meal and supplement program that’s only recently capitalized on the power of its retail presence. Historically, the company’s sales were limited to wholesale distribution of products through its network of Weight Control Centers & Wholesale Physicians, franchised Take Shape For Life Health Coaches that guide clients through the Medifast 5+1 nutrition plan, and a network of brickand- mortar clinics and physicians’ offices where Medifast programs and products were referred to customers. In effect, it was a CPG (consumer packaged goods) company that sat somewhere between a food manufacturer (it makes and sells pre-packaged perishables) and a healthcare vendor (its products were distributed via clinics and physicians). Since the company made a concerted effort to develop Medifast Direct, a direct-to-consumer retail e-commerce channel, it has grown to a 947 full-time employee business. Many of those employees are dedicated to marketing and to fulfilling direct orders from individual consumers.