Weight Watchers has announced their plans to release a line of quick-prep meal kits that will be sold in grocery stores. The Oprah Winfrey-backed weight loss program decided to enter the meal kit market to compete with contenders like Blue Apron – who is currently leading in this category – and to expand their portfolio and get a hand in the healthy meal kit market.
According to a press release, the weight loss company will be launching their meal kits and new line of cooking utensils under their new WW Healthy Kitchen brand. Weight Watchers unveiled their new WW Healthy Kitchen products at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, IL, between March 10-13. Their presentation included their healthy quick-prep meal kits, WW Freestyle recipes by their newest celebrity brand ambassador, Chef Eric Greenspan and their new line of WW Healthy Kitchen tools and products. The company plans to launch their products in grocery stores nationally by the end of 2018.
“At WW, our goal is to be a partner to everyone on their pursuit toward healthier living,” said Mindy Grossman, President and CEO of Weight Watchers International, Inc. “We know people today need the tools, inspiration and community to develop healthy habits in their day-to-day lives. Whether through a collection of delicious and satisfying recipes, custom WW kitchen tools, or fresh, quick-prep meal kits, we are delivering the solutions that make healthy eating and cooking accessible, easier, and simpler for all.”
In partnership with fresh food industry innovator, FreshRealm, Weight Watchers developed their quick-prep meal kits with pre-portioned ingredients that are natural, fresh and free from artificial ingredients. Although this new quick-prep line is quite similar to traditional meal kits featured in food delivery services such as Blue Apron’s, WW Healthy Kitchen products stand out for their availability in national grocery stores. While other meal kit delivery services require the purchase of multiple meal kits, Weight Watchers’ quick-prep line is entirely á la carte because of their grocery store availability, thus making it more likely to attract new consumers who are hesitant to subscribe to a weekly delivery service.
“There has been a shift in what people demand as it relates to the food they consume; people are busier so they want convenience, but they also desire fresh foods – whether they are on-the-go or at home with their family,” said Michael Lippold, Founder & CEO of FreshRealm, LLC. “We’re working closely with WW to deliver on all these points with a distinguished product line of healthy and delicious quick-prep meals.”
In addition to their meal kits, Weight Watchers’ new brand ambassador Chef Eric Greenspan is developing exclusive healthy recipes for the weight loss program using WW Healthy Kitchen Products and ingredients.
“While I am the king of comfort food, WW Freestyle has taught me how to implement healthier choices into my dishes,” said Chef Eric Greenspan. “The program is empowering and liberating, and the new WW Healthy Kitchen tools make eating and cooking healthier, fun and simple. You can’t beat that.”
Weight Watchers’ line of cooking utensils and products will be developed in partnership with kitchenware producer Gibson Overseas. Their new collection of WW Healthy Kitchen tools includes over 100 healthy cooking products such as fruit-infuser water bottles, storage containers, cutlery sets, scratch resistant non-stick pans and measuring cups.
“For generations, our mission at Gibson has been to provide customized solutions,” said Sal Gabbay, CEO of Gibson Overseas, Inc. “It’s powerful to know by partnering with WW to develop this distinct and superior line of products and tools, we will make a significant impact on people’s lives. These products are simple, convenient and specifically tailored to help people eat healthier on their journey to health.”
Weight Watchers isn’t the only major food company investing in grocery store-based meal kits; Walmart may be their biggest competition in this segment. The largest grocer in America announced their decision to launch their own line of meal kits on March 5. The major retailer plans to launch their new meal kits in over 2,000 stores by the end of this year.
Last year, the meal kit market experienced 26 percent growth that totaled in $156.6 million in sales. In addition, Nielsen data finds that a quarter of US consumers would consider trying a meal kit. With further growth expected for the meal kit market, this is a segment many major food companies will likely want to take part in.