The Cambridge Diet is a health network marketing company founded in 1984 that offers a motivational weight loss plan.
Their diet gives you 415 to 1500 calories to be consumed per day – mostly from their own products.
They’ve had a good run, so have I been involved?
This video explains:
All good? Let’s continue…
The Cambridge Diet is the brainchild of biochemist Dr Alan Howard and Dr Ian McLean-Baird, borne of their pursuit of the “perfect diet”.
These guys put up good numbers: Since the 1984 launch, more than 30 million people internationally have used the plan, but its too early to call them the “Advocare of the UK”.
Still, I can’t help feeling if you wanted to make a living helping people get healthier, you’d join Weight Watchers instead of the Cambridge Weight Plan.
Check the trends:
Employees participate in a profit share scheme, as the company is employee owned.
According to the Employee Ownership Association, the Cambridge Weight Plan is the 46th largest of its kind in the UK. How big the list could be is unclear – the EOA website doesn’t list the Cambridge Weight Plan in its itinerary and if it’s #46 out of, say, #46, the listing isn’t impressive.
However, don’t rule them out – they’ve got quite the awards list.
From 1999 onwards, the Plan has received eight awards (not runner-up’s) including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in 2013 and Business of the Year at the Corby Awards 2015.
FYI, the UK-based distributors are called “consultants”, and the international salespeople bog-standard distributors. There doesn’t seem to be a North America business opportunity – their international distributor options are Europe, Middle East, South and South East Asia, Central and South America, Africa, Australia and India.
So what do they actually sell, aside from emotional support?
These are converted from GBP to USD – true prices might be a bit different.
Cambridge Weight Plan: $62.96 per week
This is based on three products a day and a one-to-one with your Consultant
LighterLife: $94.38 per week
This is based on four products a day and a $19.55 weekly telephone group session.
Weight Watchers: $83.64 per week
This includes weekly group meetings.
Slimming World: $83.10 per week
This includes weekly group meetings.
Slim-Fast: $89.43 per week
This is based on the 3-2-1 plan – three snacks, two products and one meal.
Diet Chef: $79.85 per week
This is a four week plan of basic breakfast, lunch and dinner, but doesn’t include recommended vegetable sides.
Conventional Eating: $76.65 per week
They’ve got a big medical section outlining a bunch of potential issues and what to do in certain situations, which is more information than plenty of MLM’s bother to offer (see: Evolv, Vida Divina, Morinda). At least without the use of a big fat asterisk leading to a ninja font size 1 disclaimer stating that nothing on the website is backed up by science of any kind. (1)
All great and pretty trustworthy. So. What do consultants/distributors get for their effort?
Wow. There’s a piece of honesty on their business opportunity page.
Dang. That’s raw, for an MLM. You won’t find many ready to admit that earning top dollar immediately and living the yacht lifestyle is only achievable after years and work and a massive dollop of luck.
There’s a requirement to become a consultant that makes sense for the brand but is still kind of brutal. You need to get sponsored, and you need a BMI below 28. Having that kind of a BMI isn’t unreasonable in a broad sense – it’s in the healthy bracket, not the underweight (2), but BMI’s aren’t exactly foolproof or fully credited in the medical community. (3) It’s also a bit shady to expect a certain body type in employees. Smacks a little of discrimination.
Once you’re sponsored, you go to a training day, and provided you can tell your carrots from your cholesterol you pay $260.00 as a starting cost. You receive paperwork and products, and can buy more from about $391.00.
However, you can’t start as a consultant totally new. You need to have gone through a diet plan as you need your consultant to sponsor you. When you take that into account, the maths of your weekly plan starts to sink horribly into place.
Take the standard Cambridge Weight Plan at $62.96 a week. Say you follow that diet rigorously for five months, at four weeks each. Twenty weeks of that equal $1259.20 before any kind of additional payments or fees to actually become a distributor. It feels a little like you’re paying for the privilege, then paying for the privilege again. Twice over.
Considering British advertising tends to be much less flamboyant than American marketing, it’s sad to see the brand get uncharacteristically overexcited and insist on placing this nugget on their opportunity page.
“Being debt free.”
For goodness’ sake.
The MLM was so subtle and strategic on this one, but they get too caught up in their own corporate brilliance and ruined it.
Is there a compensation plan? Uhh. No numbers, no transparency, and therefore much less credibility. Where are the statistics? If the numbers are so bad you can’t bear to make them public, then it’s probably not a feasible business plan to begin with.
This is a fairly straight-and-narrow MLM that does well on the first shake up, but then ends up with a bunch of big fat holes. No compensation plan is a big downside, as you’re unlikely to see one before investing in the weight loss plan. You shouldn’t have to pay over a thousand dollars to check the numbers. It would be like committing to a blind holiday to somewhere you didn’t know without any research and paying up front. You wouldn’t do it. It’s nonsensical.
The awards and guarantees are pretty solid though, so it’s likely you’ll be doing business with a straightforward company and workforce, and the lack of group parties is a welcome relief.
The one-on-one style of contact with the consultant would be a big attraction for a lot of customers, but as far as being a distributor goes, dig deeper before forking out.
A good opportunity to quit your day job and work from home? Uh, I don’t think so.
Not a hater of the company, but it’s just not worth the risk.
If you enjoy Monday morning conversations by the pool, (without hitting up your friends to try diet products) you might like our training.