Wednesday, June 3News That Matters

Nestlé's new Life Cuisine brand caters to changing definition of healthy eating – Food Dive


Dive Brief:

  • Nestlé is introducing a frozen line called Life Cuisine that responds to a shift in how people define wellness. The word, the company said, has evolved from calorie-conscious eating to a more holistic approach, the company said.
  • Nestlé said the new brand caters to four consumer preferences: a low-carb lifestyle, high protein, meatless and gluten-free. The foods, which include 15 recipes such as layered bowls, cauliflower-crust pizzas and sous vide egg bites, are made with protein, vegetables and whole grains. The world’s largest food company said shoppers can pick from foods that have a full cup of vegetables, two or more essential nutrients, high protein and high fiber.
  • The company also announced it is refreshing more than half of its Lean Cuisine portfolio, with each recipe created to be under 400 calories and 10 grams of fat or less. Nestlé​ said the key to this overhaul are 18 new Lean Cuisine Bowls. These include 13 updated best-selling recipes with 20% more ounces of food and five new recipes. 

Dive Insight:

As consumers look for foods that meet their needs, Nestlé is responding with the creation of a lifestyle brand that prioritizes these values. In the statement, Rhonda Richardson, a registered dietitian and nutrition communication manager at Nestlé, said consumers have asked for “meals that fit their personal definitions of wellness without compromising on taste or satisfaction.” 

In recent years, Nestlé​’s Lean Cuisine has undergone a major brand overhaul to focus less on “diet”-friendly foods and more on organic, high-protein and gluten-free meals. Two years ago, Lean Cuisine expanded its frozen entrée line to include meatless and mostly organic offerings under the Origins label.

The world’s largest food company is doubling down again this time around with an aptly named product in Life Cuisine that taps into the trends increasingly in demand by consumers during their everyday life. To be sure, Nestlé​ ​is making changes to Lean Cuisine, too, with a growing reliance on portable bowls that have gained popularity recently in restaurants and on-trend offerings like ​Korean-Style Rice & Vegetables, Spicy Baja Style Chicken and Spicy Baja Style Chicken.

A Nielsen report last December found there’s space for CPG companies who are trying to win with more healthy foods. It noted although sales have increased during the last year for fresh foods, organics and plant-based foods, the majority of Americans aren’t making healthy purchases as frequently as they want. Two-thirds of Americans say their eating habits have changed during the last five years, and three in 10 say they are making more healthy food choices than a year ago.

Nestlé​ has been aggressively overhauling its portfolio in recent years to better respond to changing food consumption trends and position more of its business in faster-growing areas. It announced last December it would sell its U.S. ice cream business to Froneri, an ice-cream-focused joint venture the Swiss company created in 2016 with PAI Partners, in a deal that valued the business at $4 billion. That sale came a year after Nestlé ​​divested its U.S. chocolate business, a transaction that included more than 20 American candy brands like Butterfinger and Baby Ruth, to Ferrero for $2.8 billion. At the same time, it has been adding more coffee offerings and rolling out new products in its plant-based Sweet Earth line, including the Awesome Burger. 

While consumers once defined healthy eating as low calorie or low fat, the definition has grown significantly in recent years. Some consumers value protein or gluten-free or low carbs or no meat. Other shoppers value global flavors and convenience. Increasingly, it has become a mix of many of these trends, putting the impetus on CPGs like Nestlé​ to respond with a diverse product line. Life Cuisine, and the changes made to its popular Lean Cuisine line, place Nestlé​ is a better position to do just that.

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