Asda has axed a range of diet ready meals on the eve of a court hearing following a disagreement with weight-loss organisation Slimming World.
The supermarket launched 12 meals earlier this year, which it marketed as “free” foods under Slimming World’s categorisation, meaning those on a diet can eat as many as they want.
The meals, which included cottage pie and Thai green curry, were priced at £2.50 each, 50p cheaper than Slimming World’s own-brand meals that are sold in Iceland.
But Slimming World insisted that Asda refused to provide it with “a more detailed breakdown of the ingredients used” in the range to determine whether or not they were indeed “free” meals.
Slimming World launched legal action against the grocer in a bid to remove the trademarks, but Asda has now scrapped the range of meals ahead of the court hearing.
A Slimming World statement said: “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.
“It’s never been our intention to prevent Asda from selling healthy meals that help people lose weight – our concern has been about our trademarks, and we hope that Asda will be able to relaunch the range without relying on Slimming World’s trademarks or name.”
An Asda spokeswoman 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.”