Jenny Craig, the once-revolutionary weight-loss giant, is coming back. After filing for bankruptcy in May, the business has been acquired by Wellful Inc., which also owns Nutrisystem. Court documents from the June 2 acquisition show the company’s intellectual property priced at up to $10 million.
Under new ownership, the brand-name company will remain largely the same, minus offering in-person training services. Jenny Craig will be going fully digital, while still offering meals, as well as personalized online coaching. While there is no shortage of businesses that include the very same offerings, it seems the name “Jenny Craig” is still a desirable asset in the weight-loss industry after 40 years in the game.
The reboot was announced on JennyCraig.com this week, in a message that reads, “Jenny Craig will be coming to your home this fall.” The company also noted that customers can expect “the same great food, same great weight loss” delivered straight to their doors “for free.” The announcement also appeared on social media, and former customers were notified that the brand-name business is set to make its return.
Jenny Craig and her husband, Sidney Craig, debuted their business model in Australia in March 1983, after Jenny became interested in weight loss post-pregnancy. Initially, they had been barred from opening in the U.S. due to a non-compete agreement. But two years later, they had become one of the biggest players in the weight-loss industry, opening 13 new centers in Los Angeles and six in Chicago. By 1987, they had 46 centers in the U.S. and 114 in other countries.
Particularly revolutionary were the twice-weekly in-person meetings, which helped clients achieve their weight-loss goals. The company also employed dietitians and psychologists to help ensure success from all angles. Competitors like Weight Watchers emerged, but concern also was beginning to grow about the health risks of diet programs. Jenny Craig saw financial hardship in the late 1990s, as it was named in a number of lawsuits over deceptive advertising and potential health risks. The business struggled to rebrand to show that they were focused more on health than purely weight loss.
As alternative do-it-yourself programs, companies selling the “mindfulness” approach, and meal-plan delivery services with options like “clean-eating” exploded, Jenny Craig folded in 2023 after four decades. The news came just two days after the company alerted employees of the decision, which prompted a class-action lawsuit that accused management of violating 60-day notice requirements. Nearly 1,000 people were employed at the time the business went defunct.