Herbalife is the world’s second largest multi level marketing company and the largest devoted solely to the sale of nutritional products. According to industry publication Direct Selling News Herbalife recorded more than $4.9 billion in revenue in 2019.
Building out the Formula 1 value proposition
The Formula 1 line of soy protein meal replacement shakes has been a core product for the company for decades. Dr. Kent Bradley, MD, Herbalife’s chief health and nutrition officer, said the company saw that it was time to add functionality to this core product line.
Herbalife said its research has shown that consumers’ dietary habits are changing, and this trend has been accelerated by the pandemic. Breakfast foods are no longer exclusively consumed at breakfast, and consumers want convenient ways to enjoy these foods at many times during the day.
That research, combined with requests from sales associates dating back to 2016, led the company to develop its so called Protein Baked Goods Mix. The mix can be used with the company’s Formula 1 shake mix to make a quick batter than can be used for muffins, pancakes, waffles and other items.
The company said the resulting baked goods have far less calories, sugar and fat than standard bakery muffins, and pack a much bigger nutritional punch, to wit:
- 24 grams of high-quality protein
- 21 vitamins and minerals
- 190 calories
- 5 grams of fiber
- No artificial sweeteners.
Fitting nutrition in with busy lifestyles
Bradley said his past experience as a doctor in the US Army coupled with his subsequent corporate experience has driven home for him the need for better nutrition in the United States. Key to delivering on that goal is to make products convenient for consumers, he said. Decades of admonishing consumers about how they ought to eat better have yielded little in the way of results.
“In the military you have a population of people you wake up at six in the morning and tell them they have to go do physical training. But a lot of them tend to gain weight after they’re out of the service. And we have a problem in this country with having enough young people who are in good enough shape to even qualify for military service,” Bradley told NutraIngredients-USA.
“Subsequently, I was the chief medical officer of Safeway, a company with 185,000 employees. We were self insured, so we paid the health care costs. That’s where I became acutely aware of the link between lifestyles and health care costs. One of the first things we did immediately was to hire a dietitian,” he said.
Bradley said Herbalife’s strong focus on the consumer helped drive the product development. Rather than telling people how they ought to behave (cook more meals at home, eat more whole foods, for example) it was a matter of observing how people actually behave and trying to match a product to those needs.
“We know people are busy and convenience really is a big factor. If they buy a supermarket muffin, they may be consuming 400 to 500 calories and might be getting only seven or eight grams of protein and a lot of fat. With our product you combine the protein shake mix and the baking mix, zap it in the microwave, and you have a quick meal that only has 190 calories but provides 24 grams of protein,” he said.