Convenience foods target nutrition-conscious segment

Although the bottom has fallen out of the market for meal replacements positioned as dietary aids, there appears to be life in the tangential market sector of meal replacements positioned on the basis of convenience and nutritional value.Since April, Ross Laboratories,...

Although the bottom has fallen out of the market for meal replacements positioned as dietary aids, there appears to be life in the tangential market sector of meal replacements positioned on the basis of convenience and nutritional value.

Since April, Ross Laboratories, a division of Abbott Laboratories, both of Montreal, has been conducting the national rollout of Essentials, a 225-calorie blend of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Available in six flavors, Essentials is being targetted at on-the-go baby boomers who are pressed for time but unwilling to compromise on nutrition.

Distribution is in drugstores and supermarkets with on-premise pharmacies.

In its effort to establish Essentials, Ross will face off against Mead Johnson of Ottawa.

Mead Johnson is the maker of Boost, the only other meal replacement targetted at the healthy consumers.

Essentials is modelled after another Abbott product, Ensure, a therapeutic meal replacement launched 15 years ago for consumption by infirm seniors in hospitals and nursing homes.

Earlier this year, Abbott in the u.s. launched a marketing program aimed at broadening Ensure’s positioning to that of a meal replacement for healthy adults aged 35-plus.

In order to go after the same market in Canada, the company was forced to launch a new brand, Essentials, since the Canadian government classifies Ensure as a ‘formulated liquid diet’ that cannot be advertised to the public.

Agency was PALM Publicite Marketing of Montreal.