Weight loss boom drives sales of protein and meal substitute products, says Vitamin Shoppe CEO

Vitamin Shoppe CEO on GLP-1 drugs

The weight reduction boom is causing consumers to spend more cash on protein supplements, latest data from The Vitamin Shoppe shows. Health and Wellness Trend Report 2024.

The report is an annual study of two,000 Americans that gives insight into key consumer trends within the dietary complement industry. More Americans are taking weight-loss drugs like GLP-1 drugs while also on the lookout for ways to switch key nutrients like protein since the drugs have been linked to muscle loss and other unintended effects.

“It is a time of significant evolution,” said Lee Wright, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe, in the corporate’s annual report.

“Innovations resembling GLP-1 drugs [are] They are raising awareness in regards to the importance of healthy eating, while social media continues to drive increasing interest in a wide selection of health and wellness supplements and products,” Wright added.

Wright told CNBC's “Squawk on the Street” Tuesday morning that growth in weight-loss products was a welcome catalyst after consumers cut back on spending on vitamins and supplements following the pandemic.

The company is increasing its focus on protein supplements, multivitamins, fiber and probiotics through its GLP-1 Nutritional Support program. The Vitamin Shoppe reported a 10% year-over-year increase in sales of ready-to-drink protein beverages in 2023.

Meanwhile, sales of Meal replacement products and unseasoned protein powder rose 13% and 12%, respectively, in the first four months of 2024.

“We work with a panel of doctors and nutritionists to be sure that we're giving consumers a holistic approach to their weight reduction,” Wright said. “You don't just wish to shed some pounds, you desire to lose fat. You wish to be sure that 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.

At the beginning of May, The Vitamin Shoppe also launched its own Telemedicine serviceWhole Health Rx, which includes access to branded and compounded GLP-1 weight loss drugs. Last week, the company added additional branded weight loss drugs. Options Zepbound and Wegovy as well as the diabetes treatments Ozempic, Mounjaro and Rybelsus, which were already available.

This was the first year that GLP-1 appeared in the company's trend report.

When asked what methods they would seriously consider to control their weight or lose weight, 52% of respondents answered: said they would do more sport and activity, while 26% said they would prefer diet programs. Meanwhile, 17% said they would seriously consider taking GLP-1 drugs.

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