Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kit Kat Makers Nestle Swallow Down Diet Brand Jenny Craig

In a strategic yet somewhat paradoxical move, Nestle, the maker of sweets and desserts like Kit Kat chocolate bars and sugary Nesquik cereal, has just acquired the weight loss brand Jenny Craig for Australia and New Zealand. A few years back, Nestle bought most shares of the brand for a whopping $600 million US.

Great, so first Nestle can make money off of the sales of their fattening candy bars, then they can make even more money helping people lose all that weight, right? Perhaps, but upon further examination, this acquisition is not actually as strange as it seems if you consider that Nestle is continually making headway in becoming a more responsible and healthy conscious company. For years, they have had a dedicated nutrition branch specializing in baby formulas and hospital nutrition and they also own the sports nutrition brand PowerBar as well as the Lean Cuisine brand.

According to Nestle Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, “The rise of obesity and the resulting metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is a major public health concern, not only in the USA but also the world over,” which is prompting the company to make a greater investment in the nutrition and weight loss industry, as opposed to focusing all their energy on chocolate bars and sweets. The Jenny Craig franchise is just another notch on their nutrition and 'weight management' belt that will help Nestle take "another important step in its transformation process into a nutrition, health and wellness company,” said Brabeck-Letmathe.

Nestle isn't the first company to harmonize their guilty pleasure brands with healthy conscious ones. Back in 2000, Unilever bought both Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Slim Fast, perhaps recognizing that all that indulgence may eventually prompt consumers to seek assistance in losing weight.