Unilever is understood to be investing more than £275 000 ($400 000) in a European repackaging/ repositioning of Slim Fast, the first evidence of which will hit supermarket shelves next year.
New York-based Clarkmcdowall has revamped the packaging of the brand’s soup range, which will be on sale in the UK and Germany in January and in France, Germany and The Netherlands in February. In total, the Slim Fast range runs to 100 variants in categories such as milkshakes, hot chocolate drinks, snack bars and soups.
The soup revamp is the first phase of a major relaunch, according to the group, which describes itself as Slim Fast’s design group of choice in the US. It won the soup job over European groups because both of its partners – Catherine Clark and Paul McDowall – are British and could demonstrate ‘real understanding’ of the European market, Clark claims.
Clark says that Unilever is looking at the whole Slim Fast brand, but is unable to confirm the design fee or whether Clarkmcdowall will be at its helm.
Unilever chairman Niall Fitzgerald has stated his aim of expanding the brand, traditionally associated with crash dieting, into a healthy eating range. In September he was reported as saying, ‘It is going to be a huge brand here.’
Clark says the soup packaging reflects the brand’s desire to reposition itself as more accessible, more mainstream, more normal, more appetising and more in line with real foods.
‘We are trying to change the way people see [diet products] as a punitive measure. It wants to be more acceptable, more a part of everyday life rather than something alien. We are getting it out of the closet and into the healthy eating area,’ she says.
The soup packaging is designed to enhance its ‘real food values’ while maintaining its efficacy as a diet product, she adds.