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For a few kilos less: shedding flab is a weighty business

19-September-2005
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For a few kilos less: shedding flab is a weighty business

The business of making people shed those kilos has gained extraordinary proportions. And guess what? There are more women than men in the queue waiting to tone up. Since beauty and slimming are two sides of the same coin, more women are heading towards slimming centres. “Definitely there are more women for weight loss programmes than men. The ratio can be put to 60:40,” says Vandana Luthra, chairperson of VLCC healthcare. The ratio differs from one region to the other. For instance, it's 70:30 in Punjab.

Not surprisingly, the slimming market - including slimming centres, gyms, food supplement clinics - is estimated at around Rs 1,100 crore and expected to grow at 13% annually for the next five years. However, slimming centres alone are estimated to make up a Rs 400 crore plus business. Of course, it's a highly disorganised industry with only two national players - VLCC Healthcare and Personal Point care - and hundreds of small players hidden in nooks and corners of every large metro and small cities.

Driven largely by higher disposable income, the slimming and fitness market is witnessing a paradigm shift with consumer profile changing dramatically. “On one hand, the consumer profile has widened from the elite class to upper middle class and middle class. On the other, it's the urbanised lifestyle and the growing awareness levels which is driving the engines of this industry,” says Ms Luthra.

The growth in the industry is evident. There are around 100 centres in south Delhi alone and 10 gyms within a radius of 4-km in north Delhi. Says Sunita Kaul, MD, Personal Point Care, “Slimming centres are poised to grow at 40-50% next year, However, the boom is largely because obesity has started affecting adolescents and children as well and no longer limited to thirty plus individuals.”

Even though one of the big players like VLCC has ventured into personal care and other related businesses, yet they predict that more than 50% of its profits will continue to come from its slimming centres which proves that the slimming business is going to boom in the coming months.

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