Is Usana a Pyramid Scheme Or a Chance for a Better Life?

is usana a pyramid scheme
A Recent Usana Income Disclosure Statement

Is USANA a Pyramid Scheme? - Updated USANA Business Review 2019

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Have you heard that more than more than 100 million U.S. citizens suffer from obesity and more than $60 billion is spent every year on diet & nutrition products? Those are huge numbers!

That’s where Usana comes into the picture. They want to provide you a better life physically and financially. Usana claims that they do everything better. However, there has been controversy around this company and some people are asking, “Is Usana a Pyramid Scheme?”

Their marketing videos are very convincing and it’s easy to get hooked by their impressive testimonials or huge events. But before rushing into their business opportunity I advise you to spend the next 1-3 minutes with me and think about Usana a bit more closely.

I am not affiliated with Usana in any way so I am not going to advertise their program for you in order to earn money. You can make a decision yourself after getting all the information regarding their system. Let’s have a look!

Usana Review

Name: Usana

Founded: 1992 by Dr. Myron Wentz

Type: Multi-Level Marketing. Nutritional supplements.

Short Review: Usana is an interesting company. Their marketing videos and testimonials are extremely convincing when they promise to improve your quality of life. However, the reality is that only 1% of their members are making a full-time income with Usana while average earnings are only $676 per year.

Usana products seem to have a high-quality but in my opinion, they are still clearly overpriced if we compare to their competitors.

As a better way to earn money from home I would recommend this program that I am using myself. Fortunately, it’s not using a MLM-model. It’s a training and a community that teaches you every step you need to take to make a full-time income from home. I bet you’ll like it.

is usana a pyramid scheme

What Is Usana?

Usana Health Sciences is a multi-level marketing company that sells various health & wellness products to improve the quality of your life. At the moment they operate in 20 countries and they have more than 400,000 associates (sellers) in their company.

The popularity of Usana goes up every August when they organize a huge convention in Salt Lake City. You can see the rise and fall every year that happens in their popularity according to Google Trends:

is usana a pyramid scheme

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Anyhow, we can’t deny the fact that Usana is a huge international company with more than $1 billion annual revenue. They have been around already for 25 years which is also a significant mark of success.

But as you already probably know, several MLM-companies have similar experience and are even bigger than Usana but aren’t still worth joining. That’s why we need to have a closer look.

There are hundreds of MLM-systems competing in the health & wellness niche.

Usana Products – 150 Different Items

Usana has a long list of different products and I don’t list all of them here but I’ll give you a quick idea what kind of products they have. Their products can be divided into following categories:

  • Nutritional
  • Food & Energy
  • Personal Care

Then inside those titles, they have different sub-categories like proteins, supplements, capsules, skincare, hair & body care and so on.

I believe you are getting the idea of what they are selling. Any kind of product that is supposed to improve your physical well-being. And the physical well-being helps also your mental health.

is usana a pyramid scheme
Usana Nutrmeal products could replace your meal.

I am always interested in the pricing of MLM-products because in my experience they always cost 2-10 times more than their competitors in a supermarket. The situation seems to be pretty similar with Usana as well. Let me give you an example of their meal replacement product.

It weighs only 1 lb but the price is $34 on their online store. You can find similar products for a half price on Amazon or at your local supermarket. One interesting fact is, however, that Usana is selling the same meal replacement for $6 cheaper on Amazon.

is usana a pyramid scheme
Exactly the same Usana product costs $6 less on Amazon than on their own online store.

There was also the same phenomenon with other Usana products. You’ll get them for a cheaper price on Amazon. I don’t know why anyone would buy them from their own store if they would know it’s possible to get them cheaper from other places.

How to Make Money with Usana?

In order to get started in the system, you need to pay a $29.95 startup fee and a yearly $20 renewal. That doesn’t sound like a lot but they have also 3 different packages for starting a Usana business.

  • Basic Business Pack – $305.00
  • Entrepreneur Pack – $624.95
  • Professional Pack – $1,250.00

These packages allow you a spot in the Usana system and you can make a good profit by selling their products. We’ll take a look at the income potential in the moment but I would like to tell you about their 5-customer rule.

Every 4 week you are required to have at least 5 different customers in order to earn commissions for product sales. If you don’t manage to acquire 5 customers during a 4-week period, you won’t earn anything from your sales. Correct me if I’m wrong but this is how I understood the system.

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Usana Compensation Plan and Business Opportunity

Usana has put lots of money, time and efforts for building their impressive marketing videos. They are almost so convincing that I start thinking about joining. But then I come to my senses and remember it’s good to have a focus and not to run behind every shiny object.

Have a look what they are telling you about Usana compensation plan. The video is very promotional and tries to sell you the system so be careful. I’ll explain you the real earnings of Usana associates after a while.

I am happy that many MLM-companies publish their income disclosure statements. That allows us to see how much their members are earnings. Let’s have a look!

is usana a pyramid scheme
A Recent Usana Income Disclosure Statement.

The statistics show a cold truth behind Usana, unlike their cheesy sales videos. As you can see in the chart, only around 1% of their associates are earning a full-time income with their system.

Later in the document, they write that average annual earnings are $676 for their associates. It makes around $50 per month. I don’t know about you but to my ears, it sounds quite a little if we take into account how much effort every associate is putting in.

After seeing their real earnings we see a common fact for MLM-systems. Only the top of the pyramid is earning well while other people are struggling in the system. They didn’t mention that fact in their marketing video. Did they?

Usana Reviews & Complaints

When I was searching for content of Usana, Google suggested a keyword, “Bad News About Usana”. People had many kinds of opinions of this system and some people called it even a pyramid scheme. Still, I wanted to have a look at other reviews to have a more comprehensive picture.

When I look at their product reviews on Amazon most of them are receiving 4- or 5-star ratings and people are enjoying their products. A typical comment about their meal replacement is “A great taste. I love it!”

Then other products have also several short reviews like, “Good.” “Excellent.” “I like this product.” However, it’s hard to find experiences if these products have really improved users’ quality of life and overall health. A good taste is not enough to get rid of the obesity.

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Very common complaint of their product is that they are too expensive. It’s a fact that when you are buying Usana products you are also paying for their expensive brand. If the same product would be sold under the other brand, the price would probably be 2 times cheaper.

is usana a pyramid scheme
A positive thing is that BBB has given an A+ rating for Usana.

Conclusion – Is Usana a Scam?

I haven’t bought Usana products and most likely I won’t. They are too expensive and I don’t see any clear benefits to their cheaper counterparts. It’s not an illegal pyramid scheme because they are offering real products and the only focus isn’t on recruiting new clients.

Still, in my eyes, many MLM-systems like Usana are similar to cults like Jehovah Witnesses. They have these mass conventions where everyone praises their own product and they get programmed to believe their leaders. Still, only 1% of the crowd is enjoying the benefits and achieving the dream.  In Jehovah Witnesses the governing body rules the system while in MLMs the founders and early-joiners have the force.

It gives members’ the great feeling to belong to a big group and be a part of a movement but is that all? Why are their products so expensive? It seems that their intention is not to provide the best value for the customer but to maximize their own profits by selling expensive products.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend joining Usana. If you disagree, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you agree with me, I would still be happy to hear your thoughts about this system.

If you were looking for a great way to make income and become your own boss, I have great news for you. This step-by-step training helped me to make a living online and it can help you as well. It’s not a MLM-system or a get-rich-scheme. You need to put in the effort like in any business but it will definitely pay off.

What do you think about Usana as a business opportunity?

Do you like MLM-systems? Do you prefer a normal business model and affiliate marketing?

Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

By Roope Kiuttu

Hello! I am Roope "Robert" Kiuttu, the founder and owner of I created this website back in 2015 to help you to make money online. You can ask me anything and I'll be happy to help you out. I help people daily to make more money online and I love seeing people succeeding. If you want to get my 1-on-1 support and help to make money online as well, get started HERE.


  1. I was invited once by a friend who’s using their product for a year already mainly for losing weight. I find it effective when you really continue using their product. But the problem is the PRICE that upon thinking how much it is, you’re starting to develop another type of disorder lol. Until she cannot afford to buy anymore and back to the old figure. I think taking those supplements accompanied by self discipline would be more effective than relying to the product itself.

  2. My friend is a part of USANA philippines and she has been wwanting me to join the group. She has told me that she is earning really well and I have also seen her paychecks. I believe that USANA is of great help to those who want to earn more in Life.

  3. I think John Oliver did a piece on this, about multilevel marketing. Personally, I think any company that requires you to buy and sell their product without a promise of salary is a scam. Also, sometimes the people who advocate products such as USANA are very pushy; as if they are forced to buy and sell these pills.

    1. With a regular 9-5 job you earn the salary immediately for spending some hours at the workplace. However, with many other companies you get paid based on your results. That’s the case with many sales jobs, MLM-programs and affiliate marketing.

      I am a full-time affiliate marketer and companies don’t usually pay me a dime unless I make sales. It’s fine because I believe we should get paid based on the value we provide. Why would a company pay for somebody who can’t make any sales?

      Still, I am not a fan of MLM-systems because their products are usually overpriced and they mostly rely on recruiting new people like in a pyramid scheme.

  4. I’ve come across this company once when I was researching another MLM company I was looking into, and I saw one talk show that talked about these companies. I’m not sure if I am remembering correctly, because it may have been some other company, but supposedly these products don’t really taste all that good at all anyway.

    However, I do give them a bit of slack since it is supposedly healthy food and it really is difficult to make health products taste good. What I dislike about MLM companies is when they force you to make monthly purchases just to keep up your status.

    I do agree with you that only a very small percentage of the members will truly find success in these programs though and it isn’t as fun or easy as the leaders would like you to believe.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

      I think it’s not hard to make a delicious nutrition product. Most protein shakes are very tasty and delicous.

      One of my friend was joking that we don’t drink protein drinks to grow our muscles but only because they taste so good 😉

      But you are right that there are also health products that don’t taste so good.

  5. USANA is very well known here in my country and I know quite a lot who are members of this. I was even once invited to join, but I declined when I saw how expensive their products are and how the price are too high to be able to really compete in the market.

    I live in a Third world country, and obviously, many people here would always prefer what’s cheap over quality, quantity or brand. With all those I know who tried their luck with this company, hoping that through this, their life would change, only 5 did get to do that.

    As a buyer, why would I buy, for example a Vitamin C which costs about 5 times than the one I can just buy in a pharmacy? In this world we are living now, it’s about being smart on where to invest your time and money, and being practical on the things we buy.

    1. Good thoughts. I prefer also buying a 5 times cheaper product usually 🙂

      Some MLM-programs have become very popular in third world countries because they promise you a better life and “the moon from the sky”.

      I was in Indonesia last year for two months and I noticed that another MLM-program was very popular there and even my close friends were involved in the system. I think the system was fine there because in that middle-size town they didn’t have other supplements so Herbalife would have been an okay choice.

  6. I heard USANA already and saw some of their products. Here in Philippines there are lots of sellers of their products. Their products are tried and tested that will give you good effects in your health the only thing is that very expensive because it is from outside country.

    As a marketer, in my opinion it is not worth trying because of its cheap share but it is best for people who are just wanting to cure some of their body illnesses.

    1. Interesting to hear that Usana is also very active in the Philippines! Yeah, it seems that everyone says their prices are so expensive. Usually, I prefer buying cheaper products myself.

      1. Yes i think they are worldwide available and exactly too expensive products which is not a friendly prize for poor countries like ours. It would be hard to sell here in our country and this would be great idea if sold in rich countries like America.

        1. It can be a bit easier to sell in a country like the US because there are lots of rich people. However, Usana products are most likely more expensive there. Usually, MLM-programs have different prices in different countries.

  7. Pyramids Schemes are quite seductive because they may be able to deliver a high rate of return to a few early investors for a short period of time. However this is illegal because they inevitably must fall apart. In this case for Usana, which is there for many years already, is obvious that its working and at the same time helping people to be more healthy.

    I have few friends who used the product and they are all satisfied with it. One of them invited me to a seminar so that we can understand the business model in the hopes of earning extra money soon. IT took us couple hours listening to their presentation and i liked the idea of earning that big but i’m not the type of person who can really present products to random people everyday so i just said No at the end of it. But the product is indeed impressive based on the effects of it to those people that i personally know. I even have one officemate before where his father had tuberculosis and was cured by Usana’s product.

    It did great and i have not heard any bad reviews about it so far and because of that i think this life saving supplement can change both lives of the seller and the customer. On the other hand their products are not cheap that’s why for me it’s kind of hard to maintain. Yeah, maybe some may say that they will just going to rip off people but having a better understanding of it, the seller will get good cash and customer will get good health, so its just a win win situation. Everybody is happy.

    1. Hi Penslinger,

      thank you very much for sharing your experiences with Usana. It’s interesting to hear that their system is so popular in your country. Here in Austria or in my home country Finland it really isn’t popular.

      I’m happy to hear that their products have really helped some people to improve their health.

      In my opinion, you made the right decision when you didn’t join Usana if you don’t have the specific personality. In order to succeed with MLM-systems you need some kind of a “salesperson” attitude.

      I believe you would like Wealthy Affiliate because there you don’t push to push products for anyone and you can do the work from the comfort of your own home.

  8. One of my friends is selling Usana products mainly the vitamins, he is a nurse. Since we are working in long hours of work and a very risky job we need to look after our health. Taking vitamins and minerals are necessary to boost our immune system otherwise will be like walking dead.

    Anyway, my friend gave me these free tablets of vitamin C. At first, I don’t want to take it because surely he’ll ask me to buy the product over and over again. In the end, I tried the product and it was unbelievable, I felt very active, seems like a boost for me. The products really work, I could buy it but I didn’t because it was too expensive and I want something natural.

    Definitely, their products are excellent but the problem it was expensive. If I’m the seller it would be hard for me to sell because consumers nowadays are looking for a cheaper price with good quality products. Or maybe I don’t have skills in selling so, I’m not good at it.

    1. Hi J.Keypad,

      it’s interesting to hear your story about using Usana products. Their products are really expensive and you could get the same ingredients from the natural food as well. Anyway, it’s good to hear that you enjoyed their product sample.

  9. I have used usana products before. It really works but it is super expensive. MLMs products are overpriced compared to products that uses conventional marketing strategies. I stopped network marketing but I stopped because of the culture.

    1. Sounds interesting. Do you think their products were even better than their cheaper counterparts in the supermarket?

      What do you mean that you stopped because of the culture? Do you mean the hype and all that kind of stuff around network marketing systems?

      1. Yes. it is the same level as GNC and Nature’s way products. I think it is worth buying but with its price its more like a luxury than necessity.

        Yup the hype and the cult like culture. It does have its reason and advantage. Plus, not everyone will get rich. if you do the math, you will noticed that about 8%-10% are successful.

        Though I suggess MLM if you want to improve your marketing, leadership, and public speaking skills.

        1. Yeah, it seems more like a luxury than a necessity.

          For me it seems that much less than 8-10% ever become successful with this (kind of) system. Usually, the number of successful distributors is around 1-5%. Others don’t earn good money for the time they’ve invested.

  10. I have been a USANA user for a year now and I find it effective. It works for me so I buy it. But for me to join them as a seller, uhm I don’t think so. I have a friend who quit his stable job to be a full time USANA seller and until now he is still…well bugging people. I just don’t think that people should focus all their energy in MLM. They should set aside time and consider it as a sideline and not a full time job.

    1. Hi Ptom,

      glad to hear that you have found their products effective for you.

      I would like to hear why do you think that MLM should only be a side job? I’m very curious.

      Do you know a famous personal development speaker Jim Rohn? He was working in a normal job but started MLM as a side hustle. Soon he earned the same money from the MLM-system as he did from his full-time job. After a while his side job made his twice as much money as the “normal job”.

      However, he loved his job and didn’t want to leave it because his story was so enticing, “Hey listen! I earn twice as much money by working part-time with this system than I earn on my full-time job. Would you like to hear my story?” And surely everyone wanted to hear more.

      At some point he had to quit his full-time job because he was earning so much more from the MLM-system that it didn’t even make any sense to continue with 9 to 5.

  11. This is just all about money. Doctors are even prescribing this just to have a commission from it. LOL. My friend had a problem with her spinal cord and was prescribed to take the Usana. I was really surprised when in fact that’s not even a medicine.

    She was even prescribed with a lot of bottles. And my friend didn’t feel good about it so she stopped ttaking it. It’s just sad that doctors are using their profession to get money from patients who doesn’t have an idea.

    1. WOW! That’s sad to hear. Doctors have lots of authority and responsibility but they shouldn’t use it wrong. Your friend’s experience tells that we shouldn’t use expensive Usana products. It would be interesting to hear what Usana representatives answer to all those negative experiences.

  12. I also don’t like getting in touch with Usana either as a buyer or as a marketer for them. Like you said, most of their products are quite expensive and if I could get cheaper alternatives out there, why won’t I want to save my money? I’m was feeling excited that they sell nutritional supplements, but if there is a chance of just 1% of their marketers making, it is truly not worth it.

    I would rather look out for other alternative multi-level marketing companies that market nutritional supplements and join instead and make my money. After all, making money through all these multi-level marketing schemes can be stressful as well.

    1. Good points.

      Recently I have been thinking about the failure rate of MLM-programs. It’s so high. But on the other hand, the success rate in any business isn’t very big either. People tend to stick to a comfortable 9 to 5 job.

      It’s always exciting to see when somebody takes a chance and succeeds. Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone failing who joined Wealthy Affiliate and just kept on going. In my opinion, it’s a great proof that their training really works and helps people to earn a living online.

  13. Well Roope, once again you have done your homework. Anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. I watch my partner get excited about stuff he sees on the internet or that people text him about on Facebook and I shake my head in wonder.

    When will people stop believing that all that glitters is gold? A lot of hard work goes into almost anything successful and working from home is no different. But these kinds of businesses, like Televangelists, make everything look like wanting is enough to make it so. All you have to do is believe and send so and so many dollars to…

    If things all came to us with that sort of ease there would be no value in anything anymore because we would all be able to access it at a whim. But so many people want instant success or instant salvation without having to change or work or sacrifice anything that’s why these places can go on as long as they do. When we stop biting they will stop fishing.

    1. Hi Linda,

      I like your phrase, “When we stop biting they will stop fishing.”

      Success requires efforts and it seems that most people prefer to take the easy road. For example, going to a boring 9-5 job that people don’t like is so typical even though they would have way better opportunities around them. Or answering boring online surveys just for earning a few bucks.

      Why do people do that? They aren’t ready to look for better opportunities and even though they would find them, they refuse to go for it because they are worried and filled with excuses. Then somebody tries a little bit and it doesn’t work. People start saying, “Why do you do that mindless thing. We knew that it won’t work.”

      However, those who succeed find an opportunity and put everything into it until they get the results they want. Then people change their story and start saying, “We knew that you are going to succeed. You are so talented.”

      Life is interesting 😉

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