March 1, 2021
With summer around the corner, March is an excellent time to consider healthier lifestyle choices. It also happens to be National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign created in 1973 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The world’s largest food and nutrition professionals organization started the initiative to encourage informed food choices, sensible eating and improved physical activity habits. This year, the Academy chose the theme, “Personalize Your Plate.” This effort seeks to encourage Americans to create nutritious meals that meet cultural and personal food preferences as well as develop sound physical activities. Here are several brands in the business of keeping consumers healthy this National Nutrition Month.
A global nutrition direct seller of products that include protein shakes and bars, teas, aloe, vitamins and sports hydration products, Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (Tii:HLF) also offers skin and hair care products, healthy living and fitness tips. Through its Nutrition for Zero Hunger initiative, Herbalife is also looking to eradicate hunger, donating more than $3 million in financial aid and in-kind gifts to leading global organizations, including Feed the Children and The Hunger Project. The company had a strong 2020, with net sales climbing 13.6% to $5.5 billion for the year, setting a sales record. Three of the company’s six regions (Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and North America) also set annual net sales records. Despite this, shares of the direct seller are off about 10% for the year.
Between-meal snacking can be detrimental to otherwise good eating habits. The Simply Good Foods Company (Tii:SMPL) provides snack options that contribute to better health through its portfolio of nutrition bars, ready-to-drink shakes, sweet and salty snacks and confectionery products marketed under the Atkins and Quest brand names. The company, whose shares have risen some 32% over the last 12 months, experienced a 51.9% increase in fiscal first-quarter net sales. This increase was primarily driven by the acquisition of Quest Nutrition, which Simply Good Foods acquired in 2020 for $1 billion in cash.
Complementing meals with vitamins and supplements to boost immune systems and provide vital nutrients that may be lacking in diets is a common practice for the health-conscious. This demand contributes to a massive global market for vitamins and nutritional supplements. Global market research provider Market Research Future (MRFR) predicts this market will generate $108.14 billion worldwide by 2025 for a compound annual growth rate of 6.7%. With a wide range of vitamins, supplements, herbs, superfoods, proteins, and other products, the Vitamin Shoppe is a leading provider of nutritional supplements looking to capitalize on increased interest in health in Asian markets. The company, a subsidiary of Franchise Group, Inc. (Tii:FRG), recently formed a partnership with the Kim Lien Group to operate The Vitamin Shoppe stores in Vietnam.
Vitamin Shoppe also partnered with leading weight loss and wellness digital subscription platform WW International Inc. (Tii:WW), the brand formerly known as Weight Watchers Inc., to co-brand nutritional supplement packs. Through the partnership, consumers can also purchase a digital WW membership package at The Vitamin Shoppe and Super Supplements locations nationwide and on Vitamin Shoppe’s website. WW International has more than 4.42 million subscribers as of January 2, 2021. The company’s shares are up approximately 27% for the year.
There is a slew of success stories published in major news outlets touting the effectiveness of the OPTAVIA weight loss/maintenance plan. The program, which includes protein-rich, low-carb recipes and snacks as well as nutrition coaching, creates a holistic health program that focuses on creating healthy habits. The company behind OPTAVIA, Medifast, Inc. (Tii:MED), has experienced substantial growth by helping consumers shed weight, reporting a 31% increase in 2020 revenues on a record spike in client acquisition and retention. Similarly, Medifast shares are some 29% higher thus far in 2021 and up more than 730% for the last five years.
Whatever your goals for National Nutrition Month and beyond, there will always be brands ready to provide the products and services to help you reach them, creating healthy living – and potential investment opportunities – along the way.