Cambridge Weight Plan can trace its roots back to the 1950s and 60s, when biochemist Dr Alan Howard, then working at the Dunn Nutrition Laboratory in Cambridge, developed an interest in weight loss and obesity.
During the 1970s, Dr Howard worked with Dr Ian McLean-Baird, of the West Middlesex Hospital, to develop what they regarded as the "perfect diet". Supported by a lectureship from Downing College, Cambridge, and various grants, the pair set up a research project at the West Middlesex Hospital. Their aim was to create a formula food with excellent weight loss properties but no undesirable side effects. It needed to contain the right level of protein to protect lean tissue; the right level of carbohydrate to promote a mild ketosis and eliminate hunger, and the right level of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and essential fatty acids to maintain good health.
Their formula succeeded in producing excellent weight loss results and further work by food technologists enhanced product flavours. The effectiveness and safety of this revised formula was tested in hospitals and with outpatients, and demonstrated remarkable weight loss, patient acceptability and patient safety. The formula then became available in obesity clinics in London and Cambridge and long-term safety was assessed and confirmed by further independent research in the UK, the USA and Europe. This led to the first commercial version of Cambridge Weight Plan, launched in the UK as The Cambridge Diet in 1984.
- 1985 - The first export market is established in Denmark
- 1986 - Product manufacturing is moved to Phoenix Foods in Corby
- 1990 - Howard Foundation Holdings (a charitable trust established by Dr Alan Howard in 1982 and the Cambridge Diet brand owner) purchases Phoenix Foods
- 1994 - Phoenix Foods becomes Cambridge Manufacturing Co Ltd (CMC)
- 2005 - Howard Foundation Holdings sells CMC and the Cambridge Diet brand to the Company’s senior management team
- 2009 - CMC’s senior management team begin the process of transferring ownership to the Company’s employees (through an Employee Benefit Trust)
- 2009 - Following extensive consumer research Cambridge Diet is rebranded Cambridge Weight Plan
- 2014 - CMC changes its name to Cambridge Weight Plan Ltd
- 2014 - The process of transferring ownership is completed and Cambridge Weight Plan becomes a company fully owned by its employees
Today - Still based in Corby and employing more than 200 staff, Cambridge Weight Plan Ltd manufactures Cambridge Weight Plan products. In the UK the Company sells and markets the Cambridge Weight Plan brand through Independent Cambridge Weight Plan Consultants. Around the world Cambridge Weight Plan is sold through an extensive distributor network.