Weight Watchers announced this week that it plans to bring in more than $2 billion in revenue over the next two years, up fifty percent from its estimated sales last year according to the Chicago Tribune.
The weight loss giant has made some bold marketing moves in the last few years that have paid off well, including bringing Oprah Winfrey into the fold to help promote their new points system. Most recently, they signed DJ Khaled as a spokesperson, who is documenting his weight loss journey over social media.
To help attain the sales goal and attract new customers, Weight Watchers announced that it will remove artificial ingredients from their foods and also begin offering free memberships to teens ages 13-17 this summer. Childhood obesity has hit epidemic levels in recent years, so the response from Weight Watchers comes at a critical time.
The plan details are expected to be announced later this year, but Weight Watchers said in a company press release that it wants to help families with “the development of healthy eating habits at a critical life stage.” It also plans to have teens enrolled in the program to go to one of its meeting locations with a parent.
The news helped investors, who saw an 18% surge in the price of its stock on February 7, bringing it to $74.37 by end of day. Before the jump, the stock was already up 42 percent in 2018, according to The Chicago Tribune.
With newfound attention, Weight Watchers revenues have increased along with its stock, making it a relevant player in the new world of fitness and diet apps that are giving traditional diet companies a run for their money.
Some nutritionists aren’t so enthusiastic about the plan to target teens, saying that having them count calories could be dangerous. Instead of eating healthier foods, teenagers tend to skip meals and eat sugary snack foods and sodas when they get hungry. The emphasis on dieting instead of learning healthy eating habits could be problematic.
Weight Watchers isn’t fazed, however. According to an article in Ad Age, the company has more plans in the works, including changes to its own platform to allow members to communicate with one another, encouraging shared accountability. The company is also getting personal by sending texts and small gifts to customers who reach their goals.
Weight Watchers also plans to open an office in San Francisco to help recruit tech talent.