business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that a business opportunity has been created by one of the byproducts of the pandemic - many people who stayed home gained weight, and now they want to lose it.

The Times frames the story this way:

"While some spent the year of the pandemic creating healthy meals or riding their Pelotons for hours, many others managed their anxiety and boredom through less healthy means. They spent the pandemic sitting on their couches, wearing baggy sweatsuits, drinking chardonnay and munching on Cheetos.

"Now, as the weather warms up across the country and people venture out of their homes and back into public or return to offices, many are looking to lose their pandemic pounds.

"The desire to lose that weight is the diet industry’s gain. In recent weeks and months, companies that sell plans to help lose weight have seen jumps in new business.

"The privately held Noom, which offers customized health plans on its app starting at $59 a month, has seen that app downloaded nearly four million times in the United States in the past year, making it one of the most downloaded health and fitness apps, according to Apptopia. Similarly, with access to many of its studios all over the world restricted for much of the past year, WW International, formerly known as Weight Watchers, reported last week that it had 4.2 million digital subscribers, a 16 percent jump from a year earlier."

KC's View:

The story makes the point that one study suggested that it was entirely typical for people during the pandemic lockdowns to gain "more than a half a pound every 10 days. If they continued to live as if they were in lockdown conditions, they could have put on 20 pounds over the year."

I totally get this.

While the Times notes that there is a lot of skepticism out there about diet plans, I do think this is an opportunity for food retailers to get aggressive about promoting healthy food and focusing on helping customers deal with pandemic weight gains.  This is a great time to get creative and to be ambitious.