Nestlé is poised to launch an American weight loss range into the UK in a bid to take on WeightWatchers.

The company acquired the Jenny Craig brand last year, and is now considering branching out into Northern Europe, starting with Britain, said CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

With a similar format to the WeightWatchers brand, Jenny Craig currently offers weight loss plans and ready meals in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Nestlé bought the company for £409.8m in 2006 as part of its drive to expand its presence in nutrition and health products. The Jenny Craig division now has annual revenues exceeding £200m.

At an investors' seminar earlier this year, chief financial officer Paul Polman said recent acquisitions such as Jenny Craig, as well as Australian cereal business Uncle Tobys and Novartis Medical Nutrition, demonstrated the group's transition towards a healthier profile.

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