Diet: A business that never stops growing

There are countless slimming centers, especially in the big cities. In Casablanca, for example, there are about a hundred. Women make up 95% of a customer base between the ages of 18 and 50.
The price for a cure is between 8,000 and 12,000 DH.

Refinement of the silhouette, fitness or relaxation. A fashion trend that has become a real social phenomenon. Although men have started doing it too, it is mainly women who are concerned. The trend is therefore towards slimness, the perfect body and well-being. It is accentuated by a well-established social pressure in Moroccan society since the early 2000s: women’s magazines, advertising posters that praise the perfection of the body as a source of happiness, success and good health. This led to a change in the criteria for female beauty. This is no longer, as in the past, associated with the overweight of the well-rounded woman, but rather with thinness and slimness. This is what beauty salons, gyms, health food stores, nutritionists and even general practitioners are responding to.
Diets, personal slimming programs, dietary supplements, creams and serums, dietary advice and follow-up, not to mention the machines that track bulges and other fat deposits, make up the bulk of what slimming specialists offer. This wide offer exactly meets the needs of consumers who embark on diets, the use of various products and no longer hesitate to resort to the most imaginative cosmetic operations.
The slimming market is very juicy and is up and running again, after the two years of confinement, when several centers came to a standstill. “The pandemic and the lockdown have indeed had a strong impact on our sector, which over the last ten years has registered significant growth,” says Ms Ghita Berrada of the Center Physical Minceur in Rabat. But since 2021, the sector has spoken, emphasizes Rihab Chouari, nutritionist, “many investments to meet a strong demand for treatment of the effects of confinement on the body”.
In this unorganized market, it is difficult to make a quantified assessment of the activity, but the professionals maintain a diversity of slimming centers and opening nutritionist offices. It should be noted that it is the big cities such as Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech and Agadir that register the largest number of openings of fitness and slimming centers. A trend that is largely justified by the level of purchasing power and the number of working women. Because they make up the majority of the sector’s customers. In fact, according to gyms, 95% of the clients are women who are in the age group of 18 to 50 years. It should also be noted that three out of ten women in Morocco are overweight. They come to get rid of the pounds they gained during puberty, during pregnancy or during pre or post menopause. If a few years ago the demand was cyclical, especially coinciding with the arrival of summer or after Ramadan, today the professionals note that women have introduced diets, massages and sports in their ritual daily well-being and beauty.

Free sessions for birthdays…

The men, on the other hand, are less regular. “More male customers come to the centre, take out a quarterly or sometimes even annual subscription, but rarely come. They quickly become discouraged when the weight loss is not fast or they plead lack of time,” explains the manager of KinéVie, a fitness center in Casablanca.
What do slimming centers offer and at what price? The heart of the weight loss program is food monitoring and tracking bulges and cellulite by manual or mechanical massage.
Lipoactivation, which uses ultrasound-based vibrations to break down fat cells, or pressotherapy, which performs “hyperpressure” on specific areas of the body, and finally the CelluM6, a professional palpator-rolling device based on ‘endermology’. Sessions whose price varies between 300 and 600 dirhams. Global slimming monitoring is billed between 8,000 and 12,000 dirhams depending on the center. The programs are followed after a preliminary assessment, which costs 200 to 300 dirhams.
The care protocols are adapted to the individual according to age, family situation, activity and, above all, lifestyle. Some centers offer a sports trainer for individual sessions of 60 minutes paid at 300 dirhams three times a week. “This helps to support the person who needs to be stimulated in a sports activity to reach their ideal weight goal set according to their size and age”, explains Khaoula Mrani, a young sports trainer who wants to point out, that “physical activity is essential in any slimming program in addition to massage and other machines. In addition, after the course, the duration of which varies according to the set goal, a maintenance follow-up is required for a period of three to five months”. During this period, the centers offer weight checks and relaxation massages every 14 days The first two massage sessions are free and the following ones cost 230 dirhams each.
To encourage women to take care of their bodies, the centers offer payment facilities and promotions for summer, year-end and Valentine’s Day. And to build customer loyalty, some centers offer free sessions for birthdays. In addition to programs for weight loss, the centers do not hesitate to position themselves to develop specialized care such as care after birth, anti-aging treatment or stress treatment. Offers 10 to 20 sessions at a price ranging from 200 to 600 dirhams.
The slimming market has been enriched for five years now with a new offer: Companies that exclusively offer food service after making an assessment to determine the duration and type of diet. These companies, five in number, located in Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier, then supply ready meals at a price ranging from 800 to 1,000 dirhams per week. “It’s an interesting offer, because it makes life easier for the customer, but you have to recognize that while the quality is good, the quantity is reduced. This causes, when the person does not cheat, a rapid weight loss, but the yoyo effect is inevitable”, confides a client. The same source, who is addicted to dieting, wants to emphasize that “after several diets, which have certainly produced results, weight stabilization remains difficult. Which leads us to say that professionals must raise awareness of a healthy lifestyle and the need for continued sporting activity. This is how you can keep in shape’.

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