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NutriSystem to tap diabetics market

Bangalore, December 8, 2009

NutriSystem is looking to tap into the growing ranks of weight-loss and diabetic customers in Asian markets and in the UK, by expanding into these geographies over the next three to five years, a top company official said.

In October, the seller of prepackaged, portion- and calorie-controlled meals entered the Japanese market with the launch of its NutriSystem J diet in a licensing agreement with spice maker House Foods Corp.    

'We think the big markets in Asia are India and China. India is the largest diabetics market in the world,' chief executive Joe Redling told Reuters.

India's diabetic population of about 50.8 million is expected to grow to 58.7 million by 2010, or about 7 per cent of its adult population, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).   

China and the United States follow the South Asian country in number of people suffering from diabetes.

The fitness-products company's current hot seller -- NutriSystem D -- designed to help users lose weight and control type 2 diabetes, was launched in the U.S. in May and has been termed by analysts as a potential game changer.   

NutriSystem D is expected to help NutriSystem beat the recession blues by transforming it from an earlier discretionary-dependent diet system to a more medical community-endorsed diet program.

'Even in a tough economy, (diabetic customers) are much more recession proof, because their goals are much more related to health,' CEO Redling said.   

NutriSystem D drove a 20 percent sequential increase in new customer additions in the third quarter and helped the company beat expectations on third-quarter results. 'We are really the only commercial weight-loss solution right now for diabetics,' Redling said.

The company also offers weight-loss programs designed for women and men, which till recently were sold directly to the consumer through the company's website -- nutrisystem.com or by phone for home delivery.

Redling expects the company's entry into the retail channel, from the earlier direct-to-consumer only business model, to boost market share growth.

NutriSystem expects to have a presence in over 10,000 stores through its tie-ups with big retail chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, and Costco Wholesale Corp. - Reuters




Tags: diabetics | NutriSystem |

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