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Look out Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, new line just helps itself to diet business.

Now Californians looking to slim down their waistlines can just help themselves to the freezer case, thanks to a new line of products called "Just Help Yourself." Breakfast, lunch and dinner fare, billed as "the diet you can do for yourself," has been brought out by former executives from W.B. Donner & Co. and Slim-Fast Foods.

More than 28 offerings - ranging from a 240-calorie Western Omelet Bagel Sandwich to Chicken Fajitas and Chicken Oriental - were introduced in October at Ralph's Grocery Co. supermarkets throughout southern California. The manufacturer is reportedly making the range available through exclusive distribution deals with specific chains in specific markets.

"This could be a preview of the future," commented an industry executive familiar with the line. "This may be the next wave of private label - very proprietary products."

Based in Southfield, Michigan, the start-up company is the brainchild of Michael Shapira. Bill Hooper, who like Shapira was a former ad agency man, is an investor and consultant. Serving as president is Dan Santangelo, ex-president and chief executive officer of Slim-Fast Foods.

The "next generation of diets" marketing concept allows consumers to purchase meals at retail stores without having to pay club membership or counseling fees - which is the procedure with some other brands. Three helpings daily of Just Help Yourself meals makes for a 1,250-calorie diet, with less than 30% of the total derived from fat. The calorie count includes two glasses of skim milk, two salads, two pieces of fresh fruit and a slice of bread.

The line is being merchandised from individual spot freezer cases in 135 Ralph's outlets. This followed testing of the products under the "Yes You Can" label at stores in San Diego last summer, where it reportedly racked up an impressive 17% share of frozen dinner and entree sales.
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Title Annotation:'Just Help Yourself' line of diet frozen foods introduced by former executives of W.B. Donner and Co. and Slim-Fast Foods
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Product Announcement
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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