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Herbalife: The $4.4 Billion Global Nutrition & Weight Management Company

Herbalife: The $4.4 Billion Global Nutrition & Weight Management Company

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Known as one of the premier multi-level marketing companies, Herbalife ​boasts a global sales force of independent distributors in ninety countries marketing and selling their brand of health, nutrition and wellness products.  

Herbalife’s aim is to manufacture the highest quality products to meet their customers’ health and fitness goals, while also providing their independent sales reps a viable business opportunity.

In our Herbalife review, we'll look at the company's history, their product line, as well as their MLM business model.  Let's get started!

History of Herbalife

In 1980, Mark Hughes first founded the Herbalife company​. He​ launched the company with a vision to sell high quality nutritional supplements, help​ fight weight loss, and give ​average people a viable second (or primary) income opportunity.

herbalife founder Mark Hughes

​Herbalife's founder Mark Hughes

Today, the company ​employs over 8,000 people, has a sales force of over 2.3 million independent distributors globally. In 2016, ​Herbalife reported a net sales of $4.488 billion.

The original reason that Mark Hughes said that he began Herbalife was that he wanted to focus on the weight loss concerns that he had for his mother Joanne. She had unhealthy eating habits and an unhealthy approach to eating in general.

Herbalife has seen its fair share of success, and in fact, in 1985, Herbalife became the fastest growing private company, according to Inc. When 1986 rolled around, Herbalife went public and became a publicly traded company under the ticker symbol HFL.

​In 1988, the company began its global expansion as they extended themselves to New Zealand, Japan, Spain, Mexico and Israel. Their worldwide sales grew exponentially with their expansion as the company earned $191 million in 1999 alone.

​Hughes attempted to take the company private in 1999 after he believed that Wall Street was undervaluing his company. Eventually, Hughes abandoned the attempt to ​go private because the shareholders were unwilling to cooperate.

In 1994, Mark Hughes founded the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation.  The nonprofit foundation’s mission is to end malnutrition in children around the world. Today the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation provides millions of dollars in funding to 50 developing countries each year.

In addition to providing access to good nutrition, the HNF’s Casa program helps these children with access to care and education.

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What Herbalife Sells

Herbalife has a wide selection of products from weight management shakes to sports performance supplements, to their line of skin and hair care products. A few of their core flagship products are:

  • Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix – a healthy meal replacement shake mix that provides balanced nutrition
  • Formula 2 Multi-Vitamin Complex – A daily multivitamin with 21 essential micronutrients, including iron, folic acid, calcium, and antioxidant Vitamins C, E, and A (as beta-carotene).
  • Formula 3 Cell Activator – supports normal mitochondrial function with alpha-lipoic acid and may help the body’s absorption of micronutrients with aloe vera.*

​The Formula 1 protein shake is a French vanilla shake that comes in a 26.04-ounce canister. ​This is one of their flagship products due to the fact that it’s a healthy protein mix that distributors have had success selling. The Formula 1 protein shake was specifically ​formulated as a weight loss shake, but can be consumed as an easy meal replacement or even a post-workout drink.

Another of their best sellers is the Mocha High Protein Iced Coffee. ​​This is a top performing product for both weight loss niche, and the healthy living market. ​{rotein satisfies ​hunger while building muscle tissues.

Some of the key benefits of the Mocha High Protein Iced Coffee include 100 calories per serving, 2 grams of sugar per serving and low fat.

Many of the their nutritional supplements aid in weight control, but it's not the only audience they're targeting…

Another ​​top seller is the ​company's line of teas. Herbalife provides a variety of flavors​ for those early morning wakeup calls.

The company’s complete product catalog is 60 pages long and beyond the scope of this Herbalife company overview. Some examples of the other products that they sell include aloes, sports energy, personal care and workout supplements.

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This is just an example of what a daily weight-loss regimen with Herbalife might look like:

Breakfast: You start with an Herbalife chocolate milkshake. You could blend the Formula 1 shake mix with 8 ounces of almond milk and half of a banana. You have a Formula 3 Cell activator, Cell-U Loss and Total Control supplements that you will take.

Snack: For a snack, you can have one can of tuna with a small salad. You have an Aminogen supplement and snack defense herbal tea.

Lunch: Herbalife vanilla shake mixed with 8 ounces of skim milk and half of a banana. As far as supplements go, you have Cell-U Loss, Aminogen, Total Control and Formula 3 Activator supplements.

Snack: An apple or other piece of fruit using the herbal tea concentrate, and you will also take the Snack Defense Supplement to keep yourself from the extra snacking.

Dinner: For dinner, you eat chicken in combination with brown rice. You will also take the Aminogen, Total Control and Formula 2 Multivitamin supplements.

​Their goal is that Herbalife nutritional supplements are easily incorporated into your daily routine. The meals that you eat are quite simple, but they have been proven to work, and ​distributors claim they have a track record of getting people ​long-term results.

One of the biggest things that Herbalife focuses on when it comes to their diet comes down to giving you low-calorie meals and boosting the metabolism through supplements.

​The company ​business model is to provide high-end nutrition along with the personal guidance and direction of a Herbalife independent distributor…

Compensation Plan: How Independent Herbalife Distributors Get Paid

Like with most multi-level marketing companies, there are multiple ways to get paid through the Herbalife compensation plan. Here is a quick look at the six ways Herbalife pays their distributors:

  • Retail Profit
  • Wholesale Profit
  • Royalty Overrides
  • Monthly Production Bonus
  • Annual Bonus (Mark Hughes Bonus)
  • Promotions

When first getting started, most of your income will come from retail sales… Herbalife will pay you a 25% commission on all sales that are made through your herbalife website…

As you advance in rank from distributor to “supervisor,” your retail profits increase from 25 percent up to 50 percent from all orders. One could join Herbalife and primarily focus on driving direct sales through their herbalife site alone.

However, the compensation plan incentivizes distributors to also recruit, train, and motivate a sales team of distributors in your downline.

As you begin to build a team of Herbalife distributors, you not only increase the percentage made from your personal sales, but also benefit from the overall volume of sales generated from your entire team. In a nutshell, the larger your overall personal and team volume, the larger your pay.

As you advance in the marketing plan, you earn between 8%-25% of wholesale profits on whatever your downline purchases and sells. The more volume you and your downline sell, the more opportunities you have to qualify for bonuses and increase your earnings potential.

Click here for a more detailed look at the Herbalife compensation plan, or consult with an Herbalife distributor directly.

Herbalife Review: Criticism & Complaints

​Herbalife has had its share of critics over the years. ​His loudest critic, billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has spent several years and over a billion dollars short-selling ​the company's stock and attacking the company.. ​​

​Ackman ​bet against the publicly traded MLM and accused the direct sales giant of ​operating an illegal pyramid scheme.

​In 2017, he even funded and released a documentary "Betting On Zero" ​following his​ take down of Herbalife.

​According to Herbalife, Betting On Zero is not a documentary, but an infomercial targeting the entire direct sales industry.

​Unable to successfully damage the company, Ackman dumped his billion dollar bet against Herbalife in 2019.

For Herbalife's response to Ackman and ​his film, visit


One of the key​s to Herbalife’s global success is their focus on science based nutrition and developing high quality products. This combined with their company culture and competitive compensation plan has attracted health and fitness enthusiasts as well as entrepreneurs from all walks of life​.

With a minimal start-up cost, entrepreneurs all over the world can plug into the company​, their upline support system​, and build a business ​with the potential to provide a viable income.

Disclosure: I am an independent ClickFunnels Affiliate, not an employee.  I receive referral payments from ClickFunnels. The opinions expressed here are my own and are not official statements of ClickFunnels or its parent company, Etison LLC. View full Disclosure here.

Ilir Salihi

Hey! I'm a blogger, affiliate marketer, and #freedomfighter. I love digital marketing. My goal with is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners leverage the internet to build a passive side-hustle or full-time income.