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WW International partners with Bank of America, Beyond Meat to close the nutrition gap

Mindy Grossman, WW International CEO, joins Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade with Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss the launch of the Healthy Living Coalition, the expansion of its partnership with Zoom, and much more.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: WW International is stepping in to close the nutrition gap that affects underserved communities with its new initiative, the Healthy Living Coalition. I want to bring in WW International CEO Mindy Grossman, a friend of the show, to help break down these details for us. Good to see you, Mindy.

MINDY GROSSMAN: Good to see you. Very exciting.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: You've got big partners here. I was reading Bank of America, Beyond Meat. How are you partnering with them to make a difference in these underserved communities?

MINDY GROSSMAN: So the Healthy Living Coalition is really an alliance for both action and solutions specifically to close the nutrition gap and in particular around the areas of food insecurity, particularly in underserved communities. And as we know, that is a significant issue, and certainly COVID has escalated that issue significantly. And when we came out with our Impact Manifesto, we put a stake in the ground that we wanted to be a leader in helping to democratize wellness for all.

So we started with the formation of WW Good. We've already been able to contribute almost 15 million servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need, but we realized that there was a much more significant need to really change the trajectory of what was happening. And as much as we felt we could be a leader here, we know that we could be much more powerful if we brought the public and private sector together to really create significant advocacy, action, and sustainable change and results.

And so we went out to partners. And what I call this is collective acceleration. How can you use partners, both again in the private sector and in the philanthropic sector, to create change? And Gail Tifford, who's our chief brand officer who's been working tirelessly with her team on this project-- it has really shown us that there are some incredible, inspired leadership amongst companies who really want to create change, sustainable change.

So we have 17 founding launch partners. Our goal is to have 100 partners by the end of the year so we can really come together around all of these areas and in particular, things like connecting and working with social entrepreneurs on what's happening, creating investment. And it's really built around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly number two, which really was about hunger, but in today's world it's really about healthy food for all because, you know, the issues of hunger and obesity are inexplicably intertwined.

And we're facing a crisis of proportions when you think that the number-one factor in COVID deaths was obesity and diabetes. And how do we really help people, all people, through the collective intelligence of bringing this group together along with scientists, along with other thought leaders to really create impact.

BRIAN SOZZI: Mindy, just staying on the obesity topic. Look, we're almost a year at least of working from home. So many companies on these Zoom calls, on these different Google Hangout calls, and we're not out there working out. Interesting partnership this week for you all with Zoom. What exactly are you doing there?

MINDY GROSSMAN: Sure. Yeah, it's been a pretty big week. So we are one of five launch Zoom partners for both on Zoom and their other platform of Zaps. So think about it. The average person is spending seven hours a day sitting, and, you know, not moving and not thinking about habits all during the day. So we're creating a number of activations that we will be doing. The first ones will start this weekend.

We'll be doing an open house. We'll have our nutrition expert Jackie London talking about food hacks and snacking and healthy. And then on Sunday, we're going to have activations for the weekend with our coaches, really virtual open houses. And then later in the year, we are going to have push notifications for positive behavior. So it could be stand. It could be stretch. It could be hydrate.

And, you know, we're very excited. I mean, just in April I think Zoom mentioned they were 300 million users, and I'm sure that number has gone up since then. And it's a global platform. And both of these announcements or impact that we want to have really has to do with helping people create sustainable behavior change and also being a leader in really enforcing this need. It's a responsibility for the democratization of wellness for all.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Mindy, I love this idea because I myself am in front of the screen for hours on end, and you do need a reminder. I better get up. I better drink some water.

MINDY GROSSMAN: I know.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: But I'm curious if what you're finding is are more people coming to your platform now at this point in the pandemic to shed those pandemic pounds, or is it because they've adopted this healthier lifestyle and want to sort of expand on that?

MINDY GROSSMAN: You know, it's really a mix. I have to say that when we look at new digital members coming in, which has really been our growth vehicle, you know, what we're seeing is either it's a jolt. I need to get healthy for myself. I need to do something. Or it's OK, I've taken care of myself, but, you know, I need a community. I need to do more. I want the support.

And you have a lot of isolationism right now, which is a contributing factor to a lot of this. So to know that they can, you know, partner with us to have a 360-degree ecosystem of wellness across nutrition, activity-- I mean we have FitOn as a partner. We have a full suite of video fitness, audio fitness, mindset and headspace content, you know, hydration.

But what's really important during this time is the community. And whether that's community of connect or the community we have in our virtual meeting groups. And to give you a perspective, prior to the pandemic, we held 30,000 physical workshops in person a week. And in April, in six days we were able to move those workshops-- actually in March-- we trained 14,000 coaches and guides. And in 12 different countries simultaneously we launched them all virtual on Zoom. And those have continued.

And the fact that we kept our community together was one of the most important elements that galvanized everyone because that's what our brand has always been about-- supporting the community, really being able to motivate, educate, and inspire. And people need that now more than ever. That's why we're investing in our coaching platforms, personalization, giving people more tools to engage with because engagement is really critical right now as well for motivation.

And that's really what we've been seeing. And to your point, we can see behavior in real time. I can tell you what people are eating. I can tell you what workouts they're doing, how they're engaging, what they're talking about. So that's how we've really been managing even our communication, but that's why we see such a great need for both impact as well as motivation.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, well said. And it really is all about community, and impressive how WW was able to pivot so quickly to remain consistent there. Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International, have a wonderful weekend. Good to see you.

MINDY GROSSMAN: Thank you. You too-- always great.