Preface of The New Wellness Revolution
4. New Wellness Trends
What Are Some of the New Wellness Trends Highlighted in The New Wellness Revolution?
1. The wellness revolution began in the United States, but is growing even faster internationally.
The Wellness Revolution, published in 2002, was focused solely on the U.S. domestic market, where the modern wellness movement began. Yet this book has been published in 12 languages, and unit sales overseas, particularly in Asia, have exceeded sales in the United States. While wellness may have begun in the United States, like so many other new products and industries originally made in America, it is now growing even faster outside the United States.
The New Wellness Revolution is written for people around the world.
2. Wellness today is primarily a grass-roots movement driven by individual entrepreneurs and small businesses.
In 2002, I wrote mostly about the larger $100 million wellness companies, since that is how I originally became acquainted with the wellness industry. Yet the majority of wellness sales, then and today, are made collectively by individual entrepreneurs, direct selling professionals, chiropractors, osteopaths, other health professionals, and small businesses. This is because becoming a wellness customer requires a paradigm shift on the part of the consumer, and direct person-to-person contact is the best way, and sometimes the only way, to make this paradigm shift in a person's thinking take place.
The New Wellness Revolution explains why the majority of opportunities in wellness still await the individual entrepreneur or health professional, and how new management techniques and forms of business organization (like direct selling and franchising) can allow such individuals even better technology than if they were part of a large corporation. This will continue for at least another decade, until wellness is a mature industry and the majority of wellness consumers are not new to wellness.
3. Some large sickness-oriented food companies have switched sides and joined the wellness revolution.
When I wrote The Wellness Revolution, in 2002, some of the worst sickness-oriented food businesses were milk dairies. Following the book's publication, the world's largest dairy, Dean Foods (U.S. sales $10 billion), purchased one of the best wellness food companies in the world; Steve Demos's $300 million WhiteWave, Inc., the maker of SILK soymilk. Yet, as explained in Chapter 4, rather than destroying SILK and its quality wellness product line, it looks like WhiteWave and its wellness philosophy have taken over at Dean Foods, rather than the other way around.
The New Wellness Revolution explains how this turnaround in thinking at Dean Foods and other large food companies is only the beginning, and how this phenomenon is increasing rather than decreasing wellness opportunities for everyone, particularly wellness entrepreneurs. As explained in Chapter 2, once a consumer has his or her first wellness experience (like drinking soymilk), he or she typically becomes voracious consumers of more and more wellness products and services.
4. Retailers and restaurants, formerly known for only sickness-industry products, have similarly switched sides and joined the wellness revolution.
In 2002, most wellness food retail sales were through designated wellness outlets like health food stores and wellness restaurants. While the number and sales of these wellness outlets have increased, the majority of wellness food sales is shifting to traditional retail food and restaurant outlets. In 2005, McDonald's began selling a fruit and walnut salad, and overnight it became the country's largest food-service consumer of apples, requiring an estimated 54 million pounds of apples per year. McDonald's has a great tradition of solving social problems, and now this worst offender (e.g., "Super Size Me") is poised to become a major wellness contributor. In the 1970s, McDonald's become the first major employer to embrace hiring and training inner city youth, after many in America had given up on them. In the 1980s, McDonald's reengineered its operations to be able to hire senior citizens in selected markets through innovations such as flexible hours and large-button cash registers. This slumbering giant, which feeds more than 46 million people every day, has been awakened to wellness. At the beginning of 2006, Whole Foods Market (sales of $7 billion) was the largest wellness food market. But on March 26, 2006, Wal-Mart (sales of $275 billion) opened its first organic foods Supercenter in Plano, Texas, and simultaneously began featuring wellness products in all of its stores. By the time you read this, Wal-Mart may be the world's largest wellness food retailer.
All of this bodes well for the wellness industry, and particularly for wellness entrepreneurs, because this greatly increases the acceptance of wellness products and distribution outlets for mass-market wellness produce. Despite the recent growth of wellness to a $500 billion industry, most consumers have still yet to have their first wellness experience, and the numbers of overweight and obese have continued to rise.
5. This switching sides phenomenon is generally not taking place among sickness-industry (e.g., traditional medical) providers.
Unlike the $1.3 trillion food industry, the $2 trillion medical industry has not embraced wellness and shows few signs of doing so. While there are exceptions, for the most part U.S. hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and health professional organizations are either ignoring wellness or fighting it whenever it crosses into their territory. The traditional medical or sickness industry is fighting a losing battle. Like the railroads at the beginning of the 20th century, which saw their industry as trains versus transportation (and subsequently lost out to trucks and automobiles), the sickness industry is poised to lose out to wellness. When the automobile first came out 100 years ago, most people saw it as just a carriage without a horse or a train that didn't require rails. A select few realized that the horseless carriage was not like a carriage or a train, but represented a new industry that would fundamentally change almost every aspect of American life—people like Henry Ford (autos), John D. Rockefeller (gasoline), Ray Croc (drive-in restaurants), Howard Johnson (roadside motels), and thousands more became the billionaires of their day and the leaders of our society. A similar opportunity awaits entrepreneurs and health professionals who realize that wellness is a new movement, a revolution, rather than a single healthier item of food or alternative medical treatment.
While everyone reading this book might personally wish that traditional medicine would return to its Hippocratic roots and embrace wellness, the stubbornness and shortsightedness of many traditional medical providers has created an enormous business opportunity for wellness entrepreneurs and professionals.
6. Thousands of new wellness products and services have come to market, some of which I predicted back in 2002, but, frankly, many of which I didn't expect to occur until at least 2012.
In 2002, I expected that in about 10 years DNA- and other scientifically based tests for targeted nutritional supplementation would become universal, adding legitimacy to the then-$80 billion vitamin business. But I far underestimated how fast legitimacy would come to the wellness diagnostic industry. In 2004, a DNA-based swab kit to identify vitamin deficiencies became available for $10 per test. In 2005, a $10 million, room-sized, fingertip-reading light scanner that reads antioxidant levels was redesigned into a booksized unit and made widely available for less than the cost of a laptop computer—already 10 million people have had their antioxidant levels measured with this portable device. Moreover, as also explained in Chapter 10, another new development, stem cell research, holds great promise for wellness. Although scientists still don't know exactly how stem cells work, medical professionals are using them to rebuild damaged organs and to slow down the aging process.
The New Wellness Revolution explains how these and many other new products are legitimizing the wellness industry by applying medical testing techniques and pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing standards to wellness products and services.
7. In the United States, from 2004 to 2007, enormous changes occurred in health insurance that now allow employees and individuals to invest in their own wellness, and to keep what they don't spend on sickness today for their future wellness (or retirement) tomorrow.
In 2002, I correctly forecast that Congress would have to make Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) universally available for all Americans—but I didn't expect it to happen so quickly, nor did I expect that my work would play a role in helping convince Congress to take action. The New Wellness Revolution explains how and why three million Americans have already opened HSAs, and how more than six million Americans are now covered by employer-provided Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). HSAs and HRAs allow employees a 100 percent income tax deduction for many of their wellness expenditures, and they allow people to keep for their future wellness tomorrow what they don't spend on sickness today.
HSAs, HRAs, and other Consumer Directed Healthcare (CDH) vehicles allow consumers to choose their own health providers—putting chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, and other wellness-oriented providers on an equal basis with traditional sickness industry medical providers. This leveling of the playing field between sickness and wellness providers began in South Africa, and is now taking root in every developed nation—because governments finally recognize that preventing disease and supporting antiaging are the only solutions to the rising medical costs that threaten their economies.
8. In 2005, the cost of providing U.S. employees sickness industry health benefits exceeded profits for the Fortune 500 largest corporations—and stockholders worldwide are questioning whether to continue funding many once-viable corporations, like General Motors.
While everyone has talked about the rising cost of employer sickness industry expenses for decades, 2005 was the watershed year—the year in which rising sickness industry expenses went beyond just reducing profits to actually threatening the very existence of major U.S. employers. Employers en masse have realized that the only long-term solution to rising sickness industry expenses is wellness—programs that increase fitness and prevent disease from occurring in the first place.
The New Wellness Revolution explains the enormous opportunity for local wellness entrepreneurs to provide workplace wellness programs in their own communities, starting with weight loss and smoking cessation programs for employers powered by HRAs.
9. Despite the growth of the wellness industry from $200 billion to $500 billion in just five years, and the resulting millions of new wellness industry consumers, the untapped market for wellness has actually increased in size. In the United States alone, the number of overweight adults increased from 61 to 65 percent during the past five years, and childhood obesity grew 10 percent, from 27 to 30 percent of children.
When I began writing about obesity and overweightness in 1996, I never thought this epidemic would be even larger more than ten years later. Although millions of new consumers every day embrace wellness, millions more remain outside the reach of the current wellness industry and become more overweight, malnourished, exercise less and/or continue to smoke. The New Wellness Revolution explains how the population of every developed nation continues to divide itself into two opposing socioeconomic groups—those who are fit and healthy and take care of their wellness, and those who don't. This terrible phenomenon has catastrophic economic and social consequences.
The contractual sickness industry obligations to solely former employees now threatens the viability of many U.S. school systems and the ability of local and national government to provide basic human services. In the United States alone, this unfunded local and state government obligation to provide unlimited sickness care to former employees now exceeds $1 trillion, and the resulting scandal will make the $300 billion S&L scandal of the 1980s pale by comparison. The scandal may even be worse in Europe and other developed nations.
10. I've joined the wellness revolution as an entrepreneur
In 1999, I founded a company to spread wellness by reforming health insurance. This company became part of Steve Case's Revolution Health Group in 2005, and today supplies wellness-oriented health benefits to millions of people through their employers or through Wal-Mart's Sam's Club stores. In 2006, I founded a similar company focused on distributing similar wellness-oriented health benefits through wellness entrepreneurs and financial services professionals. This new company, Zane Benefits LLC (www.zanebenefits.com), is already making a difference on hundreds of college campuses and with thousands of entrepreneurs and employers, by getting consumers better, safer, and cheaper wellness-oriented health insurance.
Action Plan for Entrepreneurs and Wellness/Health Professionals
At the end of each chapter you will find a section called Action Plan for Entrepreneurs and Wellness/Health Professionals. This is meant for new entrepreneurs or for people currently employed who are contemplating striking out on their own. I do not want to imply that my suggested Action Plan is the only one you should follow. My objective is to illustrate how great an opportunity there is in wellness, and to stimulate your mind for how to apply your own background, education, and life experiences to becoming an entrepreneur in the wellness industry.
Paul Zane Pilzer
Park City, Utah