Asda has withdrawn its new Slimzone range from shelves after a bust-up with weight loss organisation Slimming World.
The supermarket targeted Slimming World dieters with a new range of frozen dishes, which it claimed were 50p cheaper than the equivalent competitor product, having launched in January.
Their withdrawal comes a week before a court hearing is due over Asda linking the products to Slimming World without its permission.
Slimming World has been calling on Asda to give it a detailed breakdown of the foods in its range, claiming they have not been tested to see if they count as so-called ‘free foods’ under its dieting regime.
“We take great pride in the integrity of the claims we make about our products. Recent information has come to light indicating that the method used by Slimming World to assess whether a ready-meal is free or not, surprisingly, is partly subjective and involves more than simply making food with free ingredients,” said an Asda spokesman. “Slimzone was always intended to bring more choice and lower prices to customers shopping for healthy frozen ready meals but because of this new information, we have chosen to remove the range while we consider the best option for our customers.”
Asda said the range had proved to be “extremely popular” with shoppers.
A Slimming World spokesman said, ”We have been open with Asda and our members about the fact that we were unable to give an accurate value for the Slimzone meals, and that our evaluation process for ready meals is complex, and has subjective as well as objective aspects. Although we repeatedly asked Asda to give us a more detailed breakdown of the ingredients used so that we could make an accurate assessment, they would not supply those details – so we were unable to confirm whether or not the meals would be designated as Free Food on Slimming World’s healthy eating plan.”
”It’s always been our view that Asda were misusing our trademarks to promote the range, trading on the back of our much-loved and respected name and reputation, regardless of whether the meals count as Free Food on our healthy eating plan. It’s never been our intention to prevent Asda from selling healthy meals that help people lose weight – our concern has been about our trademarks, and we hope that Asda will be able to relaunch the range without relying on Slimming World’s trademarks or name.”