Wellness company Rae announced Sunday that they would be pulling their metabolism drops from the market—following a VICE report on Friday about the product’s popularity on TikTok, particularly with teenage girls.
“We became concerned when we started to notice a conversation emerge: teenage girls misusing the product alongside conversation about weight loss. All of our products are formulated for, and marketed to, adult women 18 and older,” reads a statement posted on Shine, Rae’s wellness-oriented blog.
According to the statement, the company decided to “proactively pause” the sale of its metabolism-related products in the wake of their Tiktok virality. Rae co-founder Tebbe told VICE the company contacted Target and worked with the mega-retailer over the weekend to pull the product from shelves and from both company websites.
Rae qualified this pause with a message for its customers: “You may see this action listed in Target stores as a recall, but there are no safety concerns with any of our products whatsoever. We took this action simply because we feel it’s the right thing to do as a company.” (Target did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We will update if we hear back.)
“We strongly believe in championing health, nutrition, wellness and confidence not only for women today, but also for the women of tomorrow,” Rae’s statement concluded. “With this action, we hope to remind young girls that they are strong and beautiful just as they are, and encourage them to shine from the inside out.”
As VICE previously reported, none of the copy on Rae’s website specifically mentions any connections between a faster metabolism and weight loss, but a quick Google search for the term “metabolism-boosting” turns up page after page of information related to burning calories and dropping pounds, often from publications like Vox the Mayo Clinic, and the Harvard Medical School blog. Given the well-established association between “metabolism boosting” and weight loss, the idea that the average consumer would purchase a metabolism boosting product for a different reason feels... unlikely.
According to Tebbe, the company's metabolism product line was strictly intended for use by women ages 18 and up, not the teenagers who "misused" the product online. "Women, whether it be because of their health, their age, their hormones... There's a lot of things that change in a woman's body over time, and all of those things can affect metabolism," Tebbe told VICE. "[This product line] is to enhance that natural part of the changes that your body go through. And that is a part of general health, health and wellness, from our vantage point."
Rae’s choice to voluntarily pull metabolism drops from the marketplace—despite their sudden online popularity—in order to “champion” its company values is, theoretically, admirable. But if the people behind Rae’s product line are so unaware of the existing associations between metabolism-boosting products and weight loss, that is a massive blind spot with potentially devastating consequences—one that calls into question whether or not it should be peddling wellness supplements in the first place.
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