Giant to offer do-it-yourself frozen diet

January 22, 1993|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Staff Writer

Giant Food Inc. will attempt to fatten its sales with the introduction Sunday of a highly promoted, comprehensive new weight-loss plan.

The 156-store grocery chain announced yesterday that it had signed an agreement under which it would be the exclusive regional distributor of the Just Help Yourself line of 28 frozen breakfast, lunch and dinner meals.

The products would be part of a dietary plan that includes instructional materials and optional weight-loss counseling, but no meetings or membership fees, Giant said.

Barry Scher, Giant's vice president of corporate affairs, said the unusual arrangement was backed by a high-powered marketing campaign. For the past week, Giant has run "teaser" ads heralding a "diet you can do for yourself" -- without giving specifics. Sunday's debut would be accompanied by a "major media effort," Mr. Scher said.

The products, made by Just Help Yourself Food Co. of Southfield, Mich., will be displayed in its own freezer case in each store's produce department, set apart from similar products such as Weight Watchers and Stouffer's Lean Cuisine.

"When you walk in, you'll see it as soon as you go into the store," said Mr. Scher.

Giant would become the fourth grocery chain in the country -- and the first on the East Coast -- to offer the Just Help Yourself plan.

Mr. Scher said Giant became interested in Just Help Yourself after hearing about its success at Ralph's,a large California grocery chain where the products were launched last year.

"They tell us the response was phenomenal," Mr. Scher said.

Starting Jan. 29, Giant plans to have dietitians in its stores for three weekends to explain the plan and provide samples. As part of the marketing effort, The plan would also give dieters access to weight-loss counseling at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Mr. Scher said the cost of following the plan three meals a day, seven days a week would run from $49 to $75 a week.

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