Jenny Craig would like for everyone to lighten up, at least a little. The weight-control company, which has provided products and services to more than 5 million clients, is one of the world's largest diet firms (along with rival Weight Watchers). It owns or franchises more than 725 centers in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, the UK, France, and Guam. Its Jenny's Cuisine prepared foods, along with DVDs, CDs, journals, and cookbooks, are sold to participants at its centers. The program is also available at home through telephone consultations and home delivery of food and support materials. Nestlé, the world's largest food and drink company, owns Jenny Craig.
After acquiring a majority stake in Jenny Craig in 2006, Nestlé completed its takeover of the diet purveyor in early 2011. The chocolatier purchased all the shares held by the group that controlled the Jenny Craig franchise in Australia and New Zealand.
With full control of the Jenny Craig operations, Nestlé hopes to further leverage its talents in global markets to boost the seller of diet programs. In 2010 Jenny Craig continued to feel the effects of weak consumer spending. While its at-home business saw sales increases, it wasn't enough to compensate for a decline in demand at its centers.
The weight-control company's about 150,000 participants pay a fixed enrollment fee and then are encouraged to buy its food products, consisting of more than 80 prepared meals and snacks, to complete the program. Other programs offered by Jenny Craig include its Jenny Direct Program, an at-home consultation and food delivery option created to make participation in its programs easier and more convenient.
In its battle against Weight Watchers and other diet programs for market share, the company has been increasing media exposure by partnering with celebrities as spokespeople and clients. Its blitz of commercials have proven to be successful in maintaining its momentum, and each year the company places more famous faces in the Jenny Craig spotlight. This effort began with actress Valerie Bertinelli, who pursued her own public weight-loss campaign with the company in 2007. Subsequent celebrities to help Jenny Craig peddle its products include Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Carrie Fisher, Jason Alexander, Sara Rue, and Nicole Sullivan. Having a large stable of spokespeople broadens Jenny Craig's appeal as it looks to attract men and women of a variety of ages and sizes. – less