Weight Watchers International has apparently came up short on 4th-quarter results and predicted 2019 earnings of less than half of what Wall Street was expecting.

Its shares dropped 34% in a day. CEO Mindy Grossman blamed marketing missteps and competition.

Weight Watchers Losing Out To Keto Diets

Keto is short for ketogenic diet, which calls for eating plenty of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and limited carbohydrates. Keto dieters eat things like eggs, avocados, lettuce, cheese, and meats, and they can make low-carb facsimiles of treats, even doughnuts, using ingredients like almond flour and stevia, a natural sweetener. 

CNN reports that a “rival weight-loss service” called Diet Doctor is a challenging competitor to Weight Watchers:

JPMorgan analyst Christina Brathwaite downgraded the stock to “underperform” last week and slashed her price target. One of the reasons? She was worried about competition from rival weight-loss service Diet Doctor, which is a proponent of keto.

To be clear, we don’t see ourselves as a “weight-loss service”. We are a health company. We give inspiration and tools to dramatically improve people’s metabolic health. Significant weight loss is often a side effect of that, and losing significant excess weight can often improve health and wellbeing. But our primary focus is on health, not weight loss.

dietdoctor.com

Oprah Winfrey remains a spokeswoman and key shareholder of weight watchers. In a report last fall, Morgan Stanley found that Weight Watchers had penetrated only 8% of its addressable market. 

Keto was the most-searched diet in 2018, according to Google. Among the 10 most-searched foods were keto pancakes, keto cheesecake, keto chilli, keto brownies, and keto cookies.

With fat in fashion, prices of avocados, olive oil, butter, and salmon have jumped over the past five years, while those of corn, sugar, and wheat have stalled or slumped, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

But perhaps the ultimate reason for this decline of “traditional” dietary advise, is that consumers are starting to realise that Keto diets are the real deal and most concerned about health rather than watching weight?