Health & Wellness
|Fate||Bankrupted (eastern Canada only)|
|Headquarters||1867 Yonge St. Suite 700
M4S 1Y5, Canada
|Stephen Brown (CEO)
Steve Hudson (Chairman)
Number of employees
Herbal Magic is a Canadian weight loss and nutrition company based in Toronto, Ontario. Operating through a network of approximately 150 weight loss and nutrition centres across Canada, Herbal Magic is Canada's largest commercial weight loss company. The program includes one-on-one personal coaching, natural health products (including vitamin support) and grocery store bought food.
Herbal Magic was founded in 1995 by Dieter Decker, who opened his first weight loss and nutrition centre in London, Ontario. After growing the business to 228 centres nationwide (220 in Canada, and 8 under the name Nutri Magic in Michigan), Decker sold the company in December 2003 to Trivest, a Miami, Florida based private investment firm. Trivest appointed Tom McNeely of Tim Hortons as CEO, and the number of units grew by nearly 45%, to 300 stores. In the summer of 2006, Trivest hired CIBC World Markets to launch an auction of Herbal Magic. According to one source, the company was sold earlier than normal because the investment had "already exceeded all of Trivest's expectations." In October 2006, Herbal Magic was sold to TorQuest Partners.
Then in 2009, Cameron Capital, a Toronto based firm whose investments include Hair Club for Men and Beauty First, invested in the business. On February 18, 2009, the company announced a change in ownership with both TorQuest Partners and Cameron Capital making new investments in Herbal Magic Inc., including a personal investment from incoming Chairman Steve Hudson. The principles of Cameron Capital became managing partners of Herbal Magic, overseeing both strategic and daily operations.
On August 7, 2015, the company declared bankruptcy and closed all of its central and eastern Canada stores, while its 41 western Canada stores were taken over by a secured lender and would continue operating. Some of the remaining stores, however, are expected to be closed in the future.
The Herbal Magic program offers a combination of private one-on-one personal coaching, real food bought at your grocery store, and natural health products. It has weight loss programs designed for women, men, diabetics (type I and II), youth, women who are planning to conceive, breastfeeding mothers, and those with diagnosed heart conditions. The programs are designed to help clients lose weight at an average rate of two pounds per week. There are three key phases to the program including:
- Phase 1: Weight Loss. During this phase, a personal health coach reviews the client’s medical history and food journal as well as recommends a meal plan with natural health products to optimize healthy weight loss. Once the goal weight is reached, the client enters Phase 2.
- Phase 2: Stabilization. In this phase, the client and personal health coach work together to increase the amount of food intake while maintaining the client’s goal weight.
- Phase 3: Maintenance. The length of the maintenance phase varies for clients based on the amount of weight lost during the weight loss phase. This is the phase intended to ensure the weight is kept off for good.
Herbal Magic’s Scientific Advisory Team researches and designs all of the products and programs. Developed by a team of pharmacological manufacturing companies, naturopathic doctors, registered dietitians, and pharmacists, Herbal Magic natural health products are designed to support weight control and promote overall health and energy. The products consist of herbs, nutraceuticals, vitamins, and minerals. As of July 2012, all 46 of Herbal Magic's Natural Health Products have received Natural Product Numbers (NPNs) which means that they are licensed for sale in Canada and have had their safety, efficacy, and quality approved by Health Canada.
The February 5, 2010 episode of the investigative news program CBC Marketplace examined the health effects of Herbal Magic's optional supplement products. The program and its independent experts determined there was insufficient empirical evidence to convince them that the supplements facilitate weight loss. Accordingly, the documentary claimed it observed Herbal Magic salespeople using tactics that lead customers to overestimate the supplements' effectiveness. Marketplace also interpreted Herbal Magic's practice of only telling customers the cost of the program after a free consultation as disingenuous.
In September 2008, Herbal Magic began its first national advertising campaign. The initiative, aimed primarily at women, consisted of television, print and online advertising. The advertisements encouraged women to rediscover a sense of self. The most recent campaign, launched in February 2010, focuses on real clients who have lost weight, and kept it off, including Susan Crenshaw. Crenshaw was the former TV host of HGTV's This Small Space. Spokespersons for the program have included former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps, former Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Gord Stellick and Canadian figure skater Elizabeth Manley who, since 2009, has waged a highly publicized battle with her weight. The Herbal Magic program brought Manley within 5 lbs of her Calgary ’88 Olympic weight when she won the silver medal.
2010 Weight Loss Cup
From July to October 2010 Herbal Magic and the Canadian Football League co-sponsored a highly publicized Weight Loss Cup. Eight Canadian Football League alumni engaged in an amiable 20-week competition to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle, using the Herbal Magic program. They included Gerry Dattilio of the Calgary Stampeders, Ralph Scholz of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Chris Walby of the Blue Bombers, Gerald Roper of the B.C. Lions, Eric Upton of the Edmonton Eskimos, Andre Greene of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Doug Smith of the Montreal Alouettes, and Paul Markle of the Toronto Argonauts. Gerry Dattilio achieved the most points and was crowned the Weight Loss Cup Champion. Fans could vote online for their favourite player. Besides weekly prizes for voting, voters could win a grand prize of a trip for two to the Grey Cup.
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- "Herbal Magic Weight Loss Programs". Herbal Magic. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Herbal Magic for sale again for the second time in three years". National Post. June 8, 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Trivest Partners acquires Herbal Magic Systems International Inc., the leading franchisor of weight loss centers in Canada". Spara Capital Partners Inc. December 19, 2003. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- Holman, Kelly (November 2, 2006). "TorQuest corrals Herbal Magic". TorQuest. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Herbal Magic Inc. Recruiting Quality Franchise Partners". BeTheBoss.ca. March 7, 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- Kozier, Louise (February 18, 2009). "TorQuest Partners and Cameron Capital Invest in Herbal Magic". newswire.ca. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Herbal Magic shuts doors in Eastern Canada, sells off 41 centres". CBC.ca. August 7, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- "Herbal Magic Diet Program". Weight Loss Center. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "About Natural Health Product Regulation in Canada". Health Canada. October 14, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- Johnson, Erica (February 5, 2010). "Magic in a Bottle?". CBC Marketplace. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
- Smyth, Julie (September 11, 2007). "Sheila Copps a new spokesperson for Herbal Magic". National Post. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- Lunau, Kate (October 6, 2010). "Jeanne Beker has that Magic Something". Macleans. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- Kuburas, Melita (July 9, 2010). "Herbal Magic to trim down CFL legends". Media in Canada. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Rules". Weight Loss Cup. July 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Herbal Magic Weight Loss Cup: Win by losing". Canadian Football League. July 8, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Herbal Magic Weight Loss Cup: Win by losing". Edmonton Eskimos. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
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