LONDON, United Kingdom — Weight Watchers UK has become the latest company to take aim at the burgeoning meal kit market.
WW Smart Kitchen, the brand’s new meal plan solution, delivers fresh food directly to the customer’s door, accompanied by simple, step-by-step, recipe cards and instructions.
As the first weight management brand to launch a subscription-based healthy meal kit model, Weight Watchers hopes the move will help to capture a new market and assist in the ongoing revamp of the brand.
“We are thrilled to be extending our product range with this exciting and innovative concept,” explained Mark Simmons, Commercial Director at Weight Watchers UK.
“WW Smart Kitchen is the latest addition to our suite of products to help people make informed, healthy meal choices for the whole family,” he added.
Partnering with Bearfaced Groceries, a Manchester-based delivery start-up, Weight Watchers will have access to some of the UK’s top butchers and farmers, enabling the brand to deliver fresh ingredients direct to its customers. All of the recipes, developed by Weight Watchers and specialist chefs, fit into the company’s existing programme, however they are also available for purchase by non Weight Watchers members.
Since 2015, Weight Watchers has been ploughing all of its resources into repositioning itself in the market. By embracing new wellness trends and shifting the brand’s message away from calorie counting the 54-year-old company has begun to enjoy a reversal of fortunes.
Last month, Weight Watchers announced its profits had more than doubled, as member numbers rose for the first time in four years.
“We delivered positive member recruitment growth in every quarter of 2016, ending the year with 10 percent more subscribers than the prior year,” CFO Nick Hotchkin said in the company’s earnings release.
In addition, with Oprah helping to breathe life into the deflated brand, the weight-loss company also reported a surge in its shares. Last December the company’s stock increased by almost 18 percent after it announced that Winfrey had lost 40 pounds using its programme.
As the UK’s meal kit market continues to gain traction, it is unlikely that Weight Watchers will be only established wellness brand to try its hand at emulating the success of startups like HelloFresh, Gousto and Mindful Chef.
The demand is certainly there, but keeping customers engaged is where the real challenge begins. For Weight Watchers, interweaving the model into its weight management programme could be the USP its competitors have been searching for.