Lean Cuisine is a brand of entrées and dinners owned by Nestle and sold on the territory of the United States of America, Canada and Australia. The products are low fat and have few calories. The brand offers a wide variety of foods, from ethnic dishes to pizza or panini. It was created in 1981 and came as the healthy version of frozen meals. In the beginning, there were only 10 items and in present there are more than 100. Because of the name, the FDA obliged the company to only offer food which has less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol. Most of the dishes have about 250 calories and none of them has more than 400 or less than 140. In time, competitors like Healthy Choice of ConAgra Foods, Smart Ones of H. J. Heinz Company and South Beach Diet of Kraft Foods appeared. Even so, in the 1990s, the company had a dramatic increase on the market and became one of the most successful brands owned by Nestle. A timeline of the company through the years reveals its development.
1981 was the year in which the brand was launched in order to promote a healthy life with dishes that did not had more than 300 calories. In 1984, Nestle offered consumers a free booklet called On Your Way To Become Lean in which a 14-days diet was explained and promoted. The diet included these products, of course. In 1985, the brand added 9 more dishes and in 1987 7 more, as competition started to appear. 1987 was the yeas when shrimp and veal products were launched. 4 years later, 11 new dishes appeared, each being 98% fat free.
1992 brought 8 new items and the following year again 8 new items. In 1995 Lunch Express was launched promoting a healthy low price lunch option. In 1995, a restaurant-inspired collection of dishes was released and in 1997 a homemade style collection. In 1999, dishes that could be cooked in a pan appeared. The 2000s brought new products and new communication strategies, as the competition was hard for Lean Cuisine. In 2006, the mother company eliminated preservatives from more than a half of the products of the brand and launched paninis and pizza. At the end of the first decade of the 2000′s, the Book of Truth campaign debuted.