Nestle’s Innovative New Brand Responds to Changing Views on Health

When Nestle first launched the massively popular brand Lean Cuisine in the early 80s, consumer views on “healthy” meal options were relatively limited. Calories were the primary concern, with some shoppers also prioritizing low fats and sugars – depending on what particular diet they happened to be on. According to Shape, the moment of the line’s launch came off of the Farrah Fawcett era, along with the boom in calorie counting books and weight loss studies.

In 2020, intentions behind healthy eating go far beyond dieting. Consumers are looking for products that are part of a holistic wellness lifestyle – lifestyles that can be grouped into distinct categories, including vegetarian, high-protein, low-carb, and gluten-free. Nestle’s new LIFE CUISINE brand aims to cater to these various nutrition preferences, with a suite of products ranging from cauliflower-crust pizza bowls to sous vide egg bites. From the company’s official PR release:

“Eating well is no longer ‘one-size-fits-all,’ so our offerings can’t be either,” said John Carmichael, President, Nestlé Foods Division. “As needs evolve and expand, our team of culinary experts and nutritionists works in lockstep to deliver contemporary meals made for these emerging food lifestyles, from gluten free to meatless and beyond.”

In the announcement, Nestle’s communications team also revealed that Lean Cuisine itself is getting a refresh, with more than half of the portfolio due to receive a modern recipe update to reflect evolving consumer needs.

Among the largest overarching food trends, one of the most influential for health-focused brands is that consumers are looking to make their relationship with food less strained. Shoppers under 35 in particular are turning against traditional diet culture, fed up with being told that certain foods are “good” and “bad.” Rather, they want to focus on feeling good and making sure that their bodies get what they need. These criteria are naturally different for everyone, so brands that want to stay ahead can best serve their customers by offering a range of diverse choices that are inclusive of many different meal plans.

It was easier to satisfy consumer needs when they were focused on a single targeted goal – losing weight via low-calorie meals. The larger culture has slowly embraced the fact that, as John Carmichael said, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to eating that can satisfy everyone’s unique goals and preferences. This new brand launch – along with the Lean Cuisine revamp – is a great demonstration of how multinational food companies can leverage trends to keep up with the fast pace of changing shopper behavior.

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