Lean Cuisine’s Package Redesign Drives $58 Million Sales Increase in One Year

Posted on by Patty Odell

To say that Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine brand has undergone a lot of change over the last few years might be an understatement.

The brand had lost more than $400 million in sales between 2011 and 2016, and, perhaps even worse, consumers were embarrassed to be seen standing in line with boxes of Lean Cuisine. So about two years ago all the products were reformulated and the packaging and messaging was changed to be more modern.

Lean Cuisine Marketplace
Sesame Chicken, one of Lean Cuisine’s Marketplace Collection meals made with organic ingredients.

In a major change, it deleted the word “diet” from its marketing and instead focused on women, and how it could recognize women by their accomplishments, not their size. A new campaign plugged the “weighthis supported by an event in Grand Central Station.

“At the beginning of 2015 we were in double-digit decline,” Jeff Hamilton, president, Nestlé Prepared Foods told Chief Marketer at the time. “In the second quarter we made the packaging changes and all the new communications and traditional media. Around July 1, business started to go positive. By the third quarter we were back to double-digit growth.”

This week, Lean Cuisine Marketplace was awarded the grand prize in the inaugural Nielsen Design Impact Awards. The awards recognize some of the most impactful fast-moving consumer goods redesigns over the last two years that show real and measurable business impact.

“The brand’s new design encouraged consumers to see Lean Cuisine as a modern health and wellness partner, rather than a “diet” brand. For the Lean Cuisine Marketplace line alone, the design makeover helped drive a sales increase of $58 million in the year following the redesign compared to the year prior—a significant amount for a large brand innovating in the declining frozen food category,” Nielsen said.

“The new design was the No. 1 reason the Lean Cuisine brand was able to turn itself around—we went from declining sales to significant sales gains even before we turned on media support,” Daniel Jhung, vice president of marketing at Nestlé USA, added. “The bold new Marketplace packaging signified a major pivot away from our ‘diet’ heritage toward our new modern health and wellness partner positioning, motivating consumers to re-engage with our brand again. This complete turnaround demonstrates the power of investing in effective package design and designing it with consumers in mind.”

Other Nielsen winners include Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky, Honest Tea, Perdue Short Cuts and California Olive Ranch Olive Oil. Honorable mentions were Cheez-It and Black Ink Wine. Read the article …

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