Asda withdraws ready meals after Slimming World disagreement
The Slimzone ready meals, launched in January, included ingredients which were classed as “free” under the Slimming World diet plan.
On Sunday a spokesman for the supermarket said it was removing the 12 meals from shelves because of the method used by the weight loss organisation to assess whether ready meals were “free” or not.
But, Slimming World said the move came amid a legal battle over the use of its trademarks.
The Asda spokesman said: “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.”
A Slimming World spokeswoman said: “Asda’s decision to withdraw the meals comes just before a court hearing next week in which we were seeking an injunction over the trademark issue.
“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.”
She said Slimming World hoped Asda would be able to relaunch the range without using its trademarks or name. Asda said the meal packs included a statement informing customers that the range was not endorsed by Slimming World.
Supermarket Iceland sells a range of ready meals which is endorsed by the diet plan.