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Weight Watchers to launch cake mixes and soups in India

By Ankush Chibber , 20-Jan-2014

Weight Watchers to launch cake mixes and soups in India

India’s rapidly growing obesity numbers have finally attracted the Weight Watchers brand of food products, which will be launched in India soon, an official with company’s Indian partner confirmed. 

Weight Watchers International, which is part of the private equity player Artal group, will launch these products in the first half of this year with its local partner, Capital Foods—a food maker in which Artal recently bought into.

According to a report in local newspaper The Hindu, Weight Watchers will first introduce food products like cake mixes, mayonnaise and soups in India, and these will be manufactured and distributed by Capital Foods.

Market niche

“Weight Watchers mainly taps into indulgence foods with its ‘healthy’ formulations. There is nobody right now in the market offering weightloss-based food as such and we hope to create this niche targeting health conscious consumers at the higher end of the foods category,” said Ajay Gupta, managing director at Capital Foods.

“We will initially bring in weightloss foods that fit into the Indian context. There will be three categories: soups, sandwich spreads and baking aids. These will be launched by the end of the year and will not be more expensive than existing brands in these categories.”

Funds freed

Capital Foods currently produces instant noodles and soups for the Indian market under the brand Ching’s Secret.

“The Artal Group has recently invested in our company and hiked its stake from 44% to 50%. With the additional infusion of funds we are setting up a separate plant to manufacture Weight Watchers products in India and also distributing the same in West Asia,” said Gupta on the new facility being  built in Wapi in Gujarat.

The funds came in December last year, after Indian retail giant Future Group exited its seven-year investment in Capital Foods by selling its entire 44% stake to family-run and Luxembourg-based Artal Group for $30m.