WeightWatchers Balance frozen ready meals

Kraft Heinz hopes to claw back value for its waning WeightWatchers brand by tapping demand for everyday wellbeing via a frozen ready meal lineup called Balance.

With WeightWatchers down 21% in value sales [Nielsen 52 w/e 31 December 2016], the brand is set to roll out eight calorie-controlled frozen ready meals – aimed at the 73% of shoppers who “pay a high level of attention to their health and wellbeing” said Kraft Heinz.

The new 400g Balance products – worth between nine and 14 WeightWatchers SmartPoints – all feature their calories prominently on front of pack next to ‘low in saturated fat’ and ‘source of protein’ claims. Calories per 100g range from 64kcal to 113kcal across recipes including Aromatic Chicken Noodle, Creamy King Prawn Tagliatelle, and Meatball Penne in Spicy Tomato Sauce (rsp: £2.79). A Chicken & Roasted Vegetable Jalfrezi variant will be exclusive to Asda, while Mediterranean Chicken Pasta will be available only in Tesco.

WeightWatchers is in significant decline, having seen £26.9m knocked off its value sales last year amid an increasing competition from rival brands focusing on weight loss and health [Nielsen]. It is currently worth £100.9m. Next month, Balance will launch into a frozen ready meals category down 2.9% to £469.1m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 29 January 2017].

While frozen ready meals offered convenience, many shoppers questioned their health benefits and taste credentials, said Carly Burford, senior brand manager at Kraft Heinz. “We looked towards growing trends to bring innovation to the category, offering meals that deliver weight control as part of a calorie-controlled diet and health, but putting great taste and quality ingredients first.”