Weight Watchers Sheds Earnings

Shares of Weight Watchers have plummeted 70 percent in advance of the company’s Q4 earnings report. Analysts expect the stock to continue to decline, which doesn’t bode well for the changes it has undergone in the last couple of years.

Brand ambassador Oprah Winfrey’s stock most definitely took a plunge according to reports, losing about $560 million.

JPMorgan Chase downgraded the stock first in January and then again in February after some analytics showed that WW daily active users had plunged a whopping thirty-five percent through February 15th. Subscriber numbers were disappointing as well. While third-quarter memberships rose 25 percent from the year before, they only hit 4.2 million, lower than the 4.5 million members the company reported in the second quarter.

Kate Hudson joins Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers (WW) announced that Kate Hudson, actress and co-founder of popular online clothing company Fabletics, will be its newest brand ambassador.

Hudson will be part of the company’s global marketing campaign “For Every Body” alongside Oprah Winfrey. The campaign is part of the company’s overall shift from a diet company to a “wellness” brand, focusing on what motivates people to want to lead healthier lives. This particular campaign will share the personal journeys of people with varying goals, whether it’s getting back into a fitness routine after a pregnancy or feeling more energetic, along with what approach works best for them. Hudson will share her experiences and encourage people to also share their stories for why they want to get healthy in 2019.

"Our members are the heart of our brand. It's inspiring to hear their real life stories and the reasons they want to get healthy – what they call #MyWhy," said Gail Tifford, Chief Brand Officer, WW in a press release. "What's interesting is that we've found many of these 'whys' are universal. Whether you want to get healthy for your children or for yourself, whether you want to feel confident in a wedding dress or feel empowered on the first day of a new job..."

Ancestry DNA Traits

AncestryDNA is growing its services beyond offering a glimpse at your genetic makeup through at-home DNA testing. Now, it wants to offer you a deeper look at why you have certain traits, like a cleft in your chin or a distaste for cilantro, and how that connects you to others in your genetic line.

AncestryDNA Traits is an interactive platform that customers can purchase for $9.99 that allows you to see up to 18 different traits you’ve inherited that you can share with other members of your family. You can purchase this separately as long as you’ve already completed an Ancestry DNA test.

If you’ve wondered why you have green eyes when the rest of your family has brown eyes, this might provide some insight. Traits such as hair color, skin pigmentation, eye color, and even iris patterns can run in a family and connect to your ethnic origins. Your eye color can be traced to your genetic heritage through an interactive map with the new service. For instance, you can see if your green eyes are common among people with Irish ancestry. Or if you think cilantro tastes like soap, you can also trace this back to your genetic makeup.

Blue Apron partners with Weight Watchers

Blue Apron announced in January that it has partnered with Weight Watchers to offer a WW Freestyle menu to its customers. The stock market responded and Blue Apron saw a surge in its value shortly after the news, but investors still remain cautious.

According to a company press release, Blue Apron customers will be offered a rotating selection of recipes weekly that are “inspired by the WW Freestyle program.” The Blue Apron team designed the recipes in collaboration with WW nutrition experts to bring healthy options to its customers. The recipes will be trackable through the WW app, and each recipe will display its SmartPoints value per serving. (Servings include pre-proportioned ingredients designed for two people.)

FDA Approval

This October, DNA testing company 23andMe was granted FDA approval for offering health reports to consumers that lets them see how their bodies process medication.

According to Business Insider, the new tests identify which genes are involved in breaking down heart medication and antidepressants, for example. These types of tests normally require psychiatrists and doctors to get involved, though they can be purchased via genetics-testing kits and pharmacies like Albertsons. These tests can run from $250 to upwards of $750 normally, but with 23andMe results are cheaper and don’t require a doctor to obtain.

A health and ancestry report for 23andMe currently costs $199.

This fall, DNA testing company Ancestry unveiled a new reporting system that provides a deeper, more detailed look at customers’ ethnic origins.

The new reports provide a more precise breakdown of a person’s ethnic makeup. The company developed a new algorithm that analyzes longer segments of genetic information, and in combination with its growing database of customers, Ancestry has a more comprehensive reference panel that allows them a better understanding of genetic diversity.

For example, “Scandinavia” will now be more clearly broken down as Norway and Sweden. Asia East will be broken down into smaller regions: Japan, Korea, Northern China, China, Southeast Asia – Dai (Tai), Southeast Asia – Vietnam, and Philippines).