Lean Cuisine unveils brand reboot

by Eric Schroeder
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Lean Cuisine Marketplace frozen entree
Nestle reorganized its Lean Cuisine brand of frozen entrees.

SOLON, Ohio — Women have a new “ally” in the search for health and wellness following the reintroduction of the Lean Cuisine brand, according to parent company Nestle USA.

As part of the reboot, Nestle said it has shifted the Lean Cuisine brand’s focus from diet to more chef-inspired, ethnic dishes that offer a variety of attributes and bold yet simple packaging that stands out in the aisles.

The transformation includes 10 new recipes within the Lean Cuisine Marketplace range. From the new line, shoppers may choose pomegranate chicken or sweet sriracha braised beef as gluten-free, high-protein options, sesame stir-fry with chicken and roasted chicken and garden vegetables as one-cup vegetable and no-preservative options, and mushroom and spring pea risotto and cheese and bean enchilada verde, made with organic ingredients and no bioengineered ingredients.

“We’ve committed ourselves to completely making over Lean Cuisine to align with the way people are selecting and enjoying their food,” said Jeff Hamilton, president of Nestle Prepared Foods. “Giving shoppers choices within the frozen food aisle is a pillar of the Lean Cuisine brand, and we know that they want more than just new flavors. They want transparency around ingredients in their food, and they are seeking new approaches. We’re motivated to do what’s right for our consumers, and from the Lean Cuisine brand, offering a greater ingredient choice is something we know they want.”

In addition to the new products, Nestle has introduced a new message it hopes to deliver to consumers of the Lean Cuisine brand. Through the tagline “Feed Your Phenomenal,” the company hopes to inform consumers of its goal of providing women with foods that satisfy their needs, as well as recognizing and supporting each woman’s unique wellness pursuit.

“We spoke with hundreds of women and found that their eating preferences vary significantly from one woman to the next,” said Julie Lehman, marketing director for the Lean Cuisine brand. “Whether the preference is organic, gluten-free or eating more protein, they expect the food must always taste great. Women also perceive the critical role food plays in powering their busy lives, and this presents us with the opportunity to meet those varying needs in a meaningful way.”

Nestle also has reorganized the Lean Cuisine brand into four “mood” sublines that it claims are more reflective of the ways women make their food choices. The new sublines include: Marketplace, Craveables, Comfort and Favorites.

New packaging features striking colors and food photography to signal the brand’s transformation, and each subline has a distinct look that separates it from other lines, helping to simplify the recipe selection process, Nestle said.

“Through our deep experience and research, we understand that Americans are highly individualized when it comes to food preferences,” Hamilton said. “With this relaunch, we’re bringing our expertise to the creation of modern recipes and offering the choices women have told us they want. But what you’ve always counted on from the Lean Cuisine brand, the great tasting food coupled with responsible nutrition, that hasn’t changed at all.”

Executives at Nestle have been upfront in recent months about the challenges facing the company, particularly in the frozen food category, and especially in the United States.

Steffen Kindler, head of investor relations at Nestle, in mid-April said the company’s US frozen business would not be “an overnight fix.”

“We are committed to fix the business,” he said. “And we believe frozen remains relevant to the consumer. Just to remind, frozen is a sizeable category, and it’s important for us as well as for the retailers with the assets that have been invested into that category.”

Kindler said the company would continue to make its product more relevant to the consumer, including through changes to the product, ingredients, packaging and communications.

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