Weight Watchers has developed a new way to save on calories this holiday season, through a source you’d least expect: wine.
The weight management company revealed its new line of diet wine, Cense, which is another player in the growingly competitive calorie-cutting wine market.
Weight Watchers, notorious for their SmartPoints food value system that helps member limit the calories they consume, claims Cense has just 85 calories per glass, compared to 120 calories for other relative wines.
The low-calorie vino concept has been fermenting at Weight Watchers for almost two years now, says Ryan Nathan, Weight Watchers vice president of products, licensing and e-commerce.
“We’re not about diet. We’re about living life to its fullest,” he said.
“Wine is the No. 2 tracked beverage in our app. We know members are enjoying wine. Sometimes, maybe too much.”
The same process winemakers use to lower alcohol content is used to reduce calories, he explained.
Unlike other Weight Watcher branded foods, like oatmeal, crisps and frozen desserts, Cense’s WW endorsement is on the back, via a readily-removable label.
“If you want to take it to a dinner party, you can and you don’t have to advertise you’re minding your weight,” explains Nathan, adding that consumers aren’t seeking a one-calorie wine.
“They want livability when it’s 30% fewer calories. It’s not like Diet Coke. You don’t drink it unlimited, but over time, it does help.”
The wine is made by the Truett-Hurst Winery of Healdsburg, Calif., with a bottle going between $13-15. The product is just making its way onto the shelves of major supermarket chains.
Wine hasn’t made quite the splash when it comes to healthy, lighter options, like light beers did in the 1970’s and 80s. This is mostly due to wine’s typically lackluster taste and body. Some remain relatively popular, like Skinnygirl, but most, like The Light Grape or The Skinny Vine came and went with little fanfare.
Frank Camma, a senior research analyst at the New York-based institutional equity brokerage firm Sidoti & Co., calls the wine line “kind of odd,” acknowledging the company’s shifting philosophy from restrictions to moderation.
“From a stockholders’ perspective, it makes sense,” he said. “They’re trying to change themselves into a holistic, healthy-living type of company, which has higher valuations and more sustainable revenue streams.”
Wine expert Alice Feiring isn’t so enthusiastic. The author of several wine works, she isn’t impressed by the cut calories from Weight Watcher’s wine, and doesn’t think it’ll appeal to the broader drinking community. It’ll really only benefit individuals who are in Weight Watchers programs, she suggests.
“Of course, the taste will be compromised,” she said. “People like me drink wine for the discovery of the place and the vintage and the story of the wine from spring to harvest. … It’s not going to be a fine wine; it’ll be a beverage.”
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