Early last year, H.I.G. Capital, a private equity investment firm, completed the acquisition of Jenny Craig, the Carlsbad-based weight loss meal plan program founded in 1983. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Now, Monty Sharma, Jenny Craig’s CEO, says the company, with 300 local employees and approximately 2,500 consultants worldwide, is on a rapid growth and expansion plan. This includes expanding its neighborhoodfootprint, he said, by opening 100 Jenny Craig at Walgreens centers within Walgreens stores nationwide that will provide its customers in-store weight loss management services, one-on-one consultations, customized menu plans and meal delivery options starting this month. Jenny Craig is the first commercial weight loss brand to collaborate with a major drug store chain to offer in-store weight loss center, according to Sharma.
$400M in 2018 Revenue
Today, Jenny Craig, founded in 1983 by Jenny Craig and Sid Craig, has roughly 500 company-owned and franchised locations in the United States and Canada, with approximately 600 centers worldwide, said Sharma. While the company is privately-owned and wouldn’t disclose revenue, a 2018 article by the Wall Street Journal reports Jenny Craig was projected to generate roughly $400 million in revenue that same year.
“At Jenny Craig, we’ve made personal support the cornerstone of what we do for more than 35 years,” said Sharma. “Members receive unparalleled one-on-one support, in center or over the phone from a dedicated consultant. Each consultant works with members to identify their strengths, challenges and personal goals in order to create unique weekly meal and activity plans that fit their needs. The meal plans are personalized with our ‘DNA Decoder (Plan)’ program to best match how each client processes food. Consultants help members with education on portion control and strategies for behavior change to help drive weight loss and health improvement. In fact, many of our consultants are former Jenny Craig members themselves…we find that their success on the program inspires them to help others find success.”
Jim OConor, senior vice president of neighborhood health destination at Walgreens, said in a statement: “We found Jenny Craig to be a strong fit with our shared mission to provide trusted, proven and personalized care. Jenny Craig at Walgreens will give customers the opportunity to interact face-to-face with Jenny Craig consultants, just as our patients have experienced for over a century with our pharmacists.”
In support of the release, Jenny Craig also recently unveiled a new 2020 ad campaign, according to the company, which launched end of last year via digital and TV. The campaign features 14 Jenny Craig members from across the country who have found success on the program.
Sam S., a Jenny Craig member and ad campaign participant from Seal Beach, said he lost 19 pounds after his wife joined the program post holiday season and asked him to partake with her.
“I loved the convenience of the easy to follow menu plan,” he said. “My consultant held me accountable each week, but I never felt judged.”
The Jenny Craig at Walgreens locations are just the latest development for the company, said Sharma. In 2018, Jenny Craig launched “Rapid Results”, a science-based program that uses the body’s circadian rhythm to help optimize metabolism and accelerate weight loss, he said, adding that it is the company’s most successful release to date. The circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours, according to WebMD.
This program was followed with the rollout of Jenny Craig’s personalized “DNA Decoder Plan” and new, customizable weight loss options, “Jenny30” and “Simple60”.
With a simple cheek swab, “the DNA Decoder Plan analyzes 15 genetic markers that can provide members with insight into five key areas: sleep quality, eating behaviors, metabolism, and how their body processes food and responds to exercise,” said Sharma. “Based on these results, consultants then share a personalized menu and action plan, empowering members to maximize their weight loss success. For example, Jenny Craig offers more than 20 lower-carb menu items for members who are more responsive to a lower-carb diet — without eliminating entire food groups.”
Jenny30 is a 30-day program that gives Jenny Craig members the tools to help them lose up to 16 pounds in a month utilizing the Rapid Results program, said Sharma. Meanwhile, Simple60 is a 60-day option that takes the “Rapid Results” program a step further by giving members the “DNA Decoder Plan” for free for a more personalized menu and activity plan all based on their DNA test results.
In the modern world of Paleo and Keto diets, for Sharma, Jenny Craig’s continued success and profitability is rooted in providing its members with the tools to live a healthier lifestyle through personalized plans, chef-crafted food and personal support.
“Jenny Craig is rooted in proven science, not fads or trends,” Sharma said. “For more than 35 years, we have focused on providing one-on-one personal support and premium, chef-crafted meals to help members reach their weight loss and overall health goals. We don’t eliminate any food groups, and there is no counting, tracking or time-intensive meal prep to worry about. The support and education of our consultants, paired with our delicious, chef-crafted meals provide the structure many people need to help develop healthy habits… This success stems from the belief that successful weight loss and weight management can be achieved through a healthy relationship with food.”
P.E. Firm Sees ‘Market Leader’
This same longstanding methodology is what made Jenny Craig appealing to H.I.G. Capital, according to Jeff Zanarini, managing director at the private equity investment firm.
“We at H.I.G. are always looking to invest in businesses with strong, market-leading positions in industries with strong fundamentals,” Zanarini said. “Jenny Craig is just that kind of company, the market leader in a consultative approach to weight loss, and one with excellent tailwinds in the health and wellness space. The fact that they have a proven, scientific approach (via basic fundamentals, like caloric-restricted diet, circadian rhythm and now in 2020 with DNA testing to customize our approach for each Jenny Craig client), was another strong consideration for us, as there are a lot of charlatans, pitching fads with unproven results. The partnership with Walgreens, (launching 100 Jenny Craig in-store locations this month, across the country) is a testament that others in the broader health & wellness space agree with our initial assessment.”
Despite its constant growth, Sharma said it is the amount of information readily available for consumption these days that has been the most difficult for the company. He said, because of the easy access to information related to health, consumers are more easily detoured from paths to proven programs that can help them find real, sustainable weight loss, like Jenny Craig. This is the reason why, despite there being more information out there, consumers continue to struggle with weight and weight-related ailments, said Sharma.
“We often hear from members about the many diets and quick-fix fads they tried before finding success with Jenny Craig,” Sharma said. “It is troubling to see consumers spend their time and money on these fads and non-proven programs, and we are working each day to help consumers make the best choice for their personal weight loss journey.”