Weight Watchers announced plans to launch its own meal kit service, adding to the growing number of companies competing in this relatively young industry.
The meal kits are part of Weight Watcher’s new WW Healthy Kitchen initiative. Along with meal kits, the company is partnering with Gibson Overseas to offer a line of kitchen tools, including “infuser water bottles, pineapple corers and pots with internal portion-measuring marks,” according to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Weight Watchers meal kits will include fresh, pre-measured ingredients and recipes that you can cook at home, similar to traditional meal kit companies. However, Weight Watchers meal kits will be available in supermarkets rather than delivered to your door. The company is working with California-based meal kit company FreshRealm, and plans to roll the new kits out later this year.
Companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have popularized meal kit delivery services and continue to grow, despite competition from major players entering the market like Amazon and Walmart. Customers like the convenience and accessibility of meal kit services, but some are turned off by having to purchase a subscription, and would prefer to have the option to purchase meal kits on demand. It’s much easier for large companies like Amazon and Walmart to provide less expensive choices as well as individual meal kits, since they have the distribution network in place. The growing competition has affected Blue Apron’s stock prices since its IPO last year.
Weight Watchers is another large company looking to enter the competitive meal kit market, but is hoping to capture customers who are specifically looking to lose weight. This uniquely angles them to be an attractive alternative, especially for meal kit fans who have had limited options in diet-based meal kit choices apart from specialty services that provide gluten-free, Keto and Paleo-based meals.
“We know people today need the tools, inspiration and community to develop healthy habits in their day-to-day lives,” Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman said in a statement. “We are delivering the solutions that make healthy eating and cooking accessible, easier and simpler for all.”
Weight Watchers was struggling in the stock market and membership base back in 2015, until it signed Oprah Winfrey as a spokesperson. Since, the company has made a comeback, and has launched some enticing new offerings, including an app, virtual coaching, and a new healthy lifestyle emphasis on its program. Weight Watchers also revamped its point system, providing free points for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, leaving more choice for its customers to have flexibility in their meal planning.
It seems the meal kit offering is an extension of Weight Watcher’s new focus on creating an overall healthy lifestyle program.