Hoping to cash in on a growing niche market, food and nutrition specialist Gene Carbonell and his partner Jan Chadwick have started a new Website offering healthier food options for bariatric surgery patients.
BariatricFoodProducts.com features more than 100 “bariatric-friendly” foods, including diet bars, hot and cold drinks, entrees and meals, soups, deserts, shakes and snacks. Carbonell, who has worked in the food and nutrition business for more than 40 years, says his foods are ideal for very meeting the specific health and nutritional needs of bariatric patients who have opted to have weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass.
“What we’re really talking about is all natural foods that are high in protein, very low in carbohydrate and saturated fat,” he says.
Prior to the launch of BariatricFoodProducts.com in December 2007, Carbonell and Chadwick, who has over 20 years in the medical and mental health field as a hospital administrator and in private practice management, were already operating a similar Website called Health Management and Nutrition. Since many of the all-natural food products featured on that site also happen to be ideally suited to people recovering from bariatric surgery, they decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
The pair plans to launch additional Websites targeting other groups with specific health and nutritional needs. Carbonell notes that with individual Websites, he can better harness the power of organic search through the leading search engines.
“If people are searching using the term ‘bariatric,’ they’re not going to find my other Website, even though it features a lot of the same products,” he says. “Now that we’ve launched this new site, they can more easily find my products.”
Food items sold through Marietta, GA-based BariatricFoodProducts.com range from $1.30 to $10 — but Carbonell says most customers buy in bulk, and the average order size is around $150. Right now the Website is offering free shipping on all orders over $50 and a 10% discount on all orders over $100. In addition, BariatricFoodProducts.com sends free samples with every order. Carbonell says customers can request samples.
Carbonell says he’s trying to boost business a variety of ways, through pay-per-click advertising on the Web and by distributing flyers and free samples at health fairs and events such as the national Walk from Obesity, to be held June 17, 2008, in Washington, D.C. He’s also been doing email campaigns (with existing customers) and has also established a blog on the site to help increase traffic.
“We also have a relationship with a bariatric patient who runs a Website for patients who are recovering from surgery,” he says. “She sends referrals to us and we work with her on a commission basis.”