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WeightWatchers are rebranding as a wellness company

The change in direction comes after their CEO called diets ‘soulless’

WeightWatchers is rebranding after their CEO called diets ‘soulless’.

What it means: Being healthy is important, not least because it makes us feel good. It’s also important to the economy. Healthy adults are more productive workers. Healthy children learn more in school and become smarter adults. Healthy pensioners are less likely to be hospitalised and strain healthcare budgets. And promoting ideas of how to make people healthier has made many businesses, including WeightWatchers, billions of pounds in profits.

But WeightWatchers thinks its current business model (charging people to attend weekly meetings and selling low-calorie food) is no longer working. According to their CEO, people nowadays are less interested in dieting and more interested in ‘wellness’, or feeling good physically, mentally and socially.

WeightWatchers, which is now going to be known as WW, wants to tap into current wellness trends like meditation and clean eating. It has partnered with HeadSpace, a mediation app, and stripped all artificial flavours, sweeteners and preservatives from its food products. It’s also set up an app which includes ‘Connect Groups’ - online spaces where people can talk about their wellness passions, be it yoga or veganism.WW reckons that these tactics will get it to $2 billion of sales by 2020 (from an estimated $1.3 billion last year).

It’s betting that wellness is something that will be heavily commoditized, which basically means people will make lots of money from it. But some people, including a bunch of academics calling themselves the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, think it should be the other way round and that wellness should be the aim of what businesses and governments do . They’re petitioning the EU to use wellness (human and environmental) as a measure of prosperity instead of economic growth.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?