Medifast/OPTAVIA Celebrates Healthy Habits and Exceptional Growth

OPTAVIA is the running-on-all-cylinders-engine propelling its parent company.

As the Medifast/OPTAVIA corporate team gathered on the iconic platform at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the market’s opening bell on March 2, 2020, they were ready to celebrate more than just exceptional growth. The team dedicated the bell ringing to the more than 30,000 Independent OPTAVIA Coaches responsible for the brand’s incredible success.

“We were thrilled to share this moment with our OPTAVIA Coaches,” says Dan Chard, Medifast’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our Coaches help Clients break cycles of unhealthy habits that have perpetuated for many years—for individuals, for families and for communities. This is what drives us forward every day and ensures we’ll be relentless in our mission for the long-term.”

Direct Selling News is pleased to acknowledge the company’s accomplishments and to present Medifast/OPTAVIA with the BRAVO Growth Award for achieving over $200 million in growth in both 2018 and 2019.

The Momentum 

Since 1981, Medifast has been a trusted leader in the health and wellness industry. Throughout the years, its physician-developed line of packaged meals, snacks and shakes have been shared through clinicians, weight loss centers and independent Coaches as well as directly to consumers online.

The launch of the OPTAVIA brand in 2017 presented a renew focus for Medifast—a more holistic message about wellness that went beyond its plans and products. OPTAVIA combines OPTAVIA products, called Fuelings, with simple tools to develop other essential facets of wellness: hydration, motion, sleep, mind and surroundings. The result is a well-rounded program that encourages full transformation through the adoption of one healthy habit at a time, setting the brand apart in the crowded health and wellness space.

“People are frustrated with fad diets, unused gym memberships and companies that promise quick fixes,” explains Chard. “We believe complex problems require holistic solutions. Our approach combines clinically proven plans and scientifically developed products with the ongoing support of OPTAVIA Coaches to help deliver long-term, sustainable success for our clients.”

OPTAVIA President, Nick Johnson

The launch of OPTAVIA was more like an explosion. Medifast’s original direct sales brand, Take Shape For Life, had grown steadily to over 12,000 Coaches from its start in 2002 until re-launching as OPTAVIA in 2017. In OPTAVIA’s first two years, Coaches more than doubled, growing to an organization of over 30,000. Even more growth was yet to come, as the company expanded globally.

“[In 2019] the OPTAVIA movement went global, beginning with the Asia-Pacific region, as we successfully expanded into Hong Kong and Singapore,” reports Chard. “This growth enables us to impact more lives than ever before.”

The Community 

Honoring Coaches at the NYSE bell ringing was more than just a sign of appreciation. Nicholas Johnson, President, Coach and Client Experience shares just how integral OPTAVIA’s Coaches are to the company’s tremendous growth.

“Our success has been—and continues to be—powered by our OPTAVIA Coaches,” he says. “Combined with an effective health and wellness program, they enable us to fulfill our mission of offering the world Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time®. They continue to be the lifeblood of our program.”

However, the rapid growth of OPTAVIA’s independent Coaches had effects beyond the company’s balance sheet.

“In 2019, we faced operational execution challenges in technology and supply chain that affected the quality of the experience our OPTAVIA Coaches and clients have come to expect,” shares Chard. “We were able to identify the challenges and take quick action to address these issues. We’ve made solid progress in returning the Coach and client experience back to previous levels.”

With new strategies in place to support a growing field and client base, OPTAVIA is more committed to their Coaches than ever.

“As our Community has continued to grow and expand, we’ve intensified our focus on establishing a superior Coach and Client experience,” says Johnson. “This ranges from the interaction a Coach or Client has with our call centers to the moment a Client receives their first package. Our strategy remains the same: to deliver a repeatable business rhythm for our field organization, which includes consistency in initiatives, events and training opportunities.”

As Coaches inspire Clients and live out a mission to transform lives, the company launched a new opportunity for the Coaching Community to share OPTAVIA’s holistic look at wellness at a local level.

People are frustrated with fad diets, unused gym memberships and companies that promise quick fixes. We believe complex problems require holistic solutions.—Dan Chad, CEO, Medifast /OPTAVIA

“In September of 2019, we introduced a new event, Healthy Habits For All Week,” explains Johnson. “Healthy Habits For All is our philanthropic initiative and extends the work our OPTAVIA Coaches do every day to bring healthy habits to even more people. [During this week], thousands of volunteers from the OPTAVIA Community and beyond joined forces to invest in the health and wellness of their local communities. They dedicated their time to service activities that aligned with Healthy Habits For All’s mission—from providing nutritious meals to those in need to assembling bikes that inspire healthy motion.”

The Future

As the company shifts its attention from expansion to sustaining what they’ve grown, OPTAVIA is poised to enter its next phase, with new products on the horizon, developed with valuable insight from OPTAVIA Coaches.

“We partner with our Field Leaders at key milestones during product development to drive adoption, excitement and momentum for new products,” explains Chard. “We will continue to drive program development and innovation through expansion into additional healthy habits—such as nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement and aging. We’ll support these habits not only through products but also with education and the support of a Coach and Community.”

Chard and his team are ready for the next chapter of Medifast/OPTAVIA, looking to take advantage of all that they’ve learned in this season of explosive growth and rapid expansion.

“2019 was a transformative year where we laid the foundation for global expansion, built the systems and infrastructure to support significant future growth and demonstrated that our growth model is sustainable long-term,” says Chard. “We’re at an important point for our business as we develop from fast acceleration into a more mature business.” DSN




Compassion in Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all areas of life, the company is uniting behind Healthy Habits For All, it’s philanthropic initiative, to support communities in need by: Matching up to $20,000 in donations to No Kid Hungry® to ensure that children who rely on free and reduced-price lunches at school don’t suffer from a lack of healthy food during this time.

Partnering with the East Harbor campus of the Living Classrooms Foundation to provide funding for laptops for local students to use during this season of distance learning.