Weight Watchers is taking its first steps into the £1.2bn [Mintel] chilled ready meals (CRM) market with the launch of a range of eight products in Sainsbury and Asda this month.
The range, which includes breakfast, dinner and dessert options, is being manufactured, distributed and marketed by Aberdeen-based Smmart, which also produces the Marshalls and McIntosh of Dyce brands. Smmart is talking to other multiples and convenience players about further listings and plans to extend the range to 20 products this year.
According to sales and marketing director Mina Mackenzie, one in four people buy at least one Weight Watchers product every week.
"The CRM market has seen 100% growth in the past five years, and 80% of adults have bought a CRM product within the last three months. If you add in the fact that 65% of people say they want to eat healthily and 6,000 people attend Weight Watchers meetings each week, you can see why we are confident about the opportunity," she said.
A consumer launch is planned for April and will target men as well as women. It will include press advertising, sampling, PoS material and coupons.
The products are priced from £1.09 to £2.69, and include Indian, oriental and classic ranges.