Asda pulls diet ready meals from shelves after Slimming World dispute

Fiona Parker
Asda has withdrawn its Slimzone range - Sean Dempsey/Press Association

Supermarket giant Asda has pulled a range of diet ready meals from its shelves after facing legal action from Slimming World.

The supermarket chain launched their own-brand Slimzone meals in January, stating on packaging the meals were "free to enjoy following the Slimming World Extra Easy plan".

But Slimming World sought an injunction over the use of their trademark on the 12 meals, claiming the company had not supplied enough information on ingredients used.

At £2.50 each, the meals were 50p cheaper than Slimming World’s own brand meals in Iceland.

The weight loss company had not endorsed or tested the product and it is understood Asda did not communicate with Slimming World before the range was brought to the shelves.

Slimming World, which boasts of over one million members, uses values called Syns to help its members lose weight.

Asda said Slimzone ready meals included ingredients which were classed as "Syn free" in the Slimming World diet plan.

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But the weight loss giant claimed they could not given an accurate value for the Slimzone meals, because the supermarket had not provided enough details on their ingredients.

In February Slimming World announced they had taken legal action against the supermarket to remove their trademarks from the range.

They claimed the supermarket was "trading on the back" of Slimming World's reputation and using their name "unlawfully".

On Sunday Asda announced they had pulled all twelve meals from their 600 stores.

A Slimming World spokesperson said the products were withdrawn shortly before a court hearing was due to take place.

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The spokesperson said: "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."

The spokesperson added: "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.

A chicken tikka masala, a cottage pie and a Thai green curry were just some of the meals pulled from the shelves on Sunday morning.

An Asda spokesperson said the meal packs included a statement informing customers that the range was not endorsed by Slimming World.

The spokesperson added: "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.

“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."

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