Weight loss boom is spurring sales of protein, meal replacement products, Vitamin Shoppe CEO says

The weight loss boom is pushing consumers to spend more on protein supplement products.

That’s according to new data from The Vitamin Shoppe’s 2024 Health & Wellness Trend Report, an annual study of 2,000 Americans that provides insight into top consumer trends in the nutritional supplements industry. As more Americans take weight loss treatments like GLP-1 drugs, they have also sought ways to replace key nutrients like protein, as the medications are associated with muscle loss and other side effects.

“It’s a time of meaningful evolution,” said The Vitamin Shoppe CEO Lee Wright in the company’s annual report. “Innovations such as GLP-1 medications [are] driving increased attention on the importance of healthy nutrition while social media continues to create surges of interest in a wide range of health and wellness supplements and products.

Wright told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on Tuesday morning that the growth in weight loss products is a welcome catalyst after consumers pulled back on vitamin and supplement spending following the pandemic.

The company has been pushing more into protein supplements, multivitamins, fiber and probiotics through its “GLP-1 Nutritional Support” program. The Vitamin Shoppe reported a 10% sales bump in ready-to-drink protein beverages in 2023 versus the prior year.

Meanwhile, sales of meal replacement products and unflavored protein powder for the first four months of 2024 rose 13% and 12%, respectively.

“We are working with a council of doctors and nutritionists to make sure we provide consumers with a holistic approach to their weight loss journey,” Wright said. “You don’t want to just lose weight, you want to lose fat. You want to make sure you’re exercising and getting protein as well.”

Wright expects the customer base for weight loss products to triple as more Americans try to lose weight.

The Vitamin Shoppe also launched its own telehealth service in early May, “Whole Health Rx,” which includes access to branded and compounded GLP-1 weight loss drugs. Last week, the company added additional branded weight-loss options Zepbound and Wegovy, along with diabetes treatments Ozempic, Mounjaro and Rybelsus, which had already been available.

This was the first year GLP-1s was a topic in the company’s trend report.

When asked which methods they would seriously consider to manage or lose weight, 52% of respondents said they would increase exercise and activity while 26% said they would prioritize diet programs. Meantime, 17% said they would seriously consider using GLP-1 medications.

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