Co., Schaumburg, Ill.; River West Brands, Chicago
Goal: To reinvent a
’60s icon for active baby boomers
The newest product
offering for baby boomers is one they might remember from their youth
— Metrecal, the original canned weight-loss drink. Thanks to an
extreme makeover from the Metrecal Co., the drink that first was introduced
in 1957 has hit the market as a snack beverage for active members of the
The Schaumburg, Ill.-based Metrecal Co., run by
partners Michelle Healy and John Tree, chose its consumer target after
research showed “active, healthy baby boomers are under-represented
in grocery,” Healy says.
“These consumers are not buying into trend
diets; they are eating regular meals. But they still snack more than any
other group,” she says, which is why the drink is positioned as a
snack rather than as the meal replacement it used to be.
Healy and Tree, two former Keebler executives,
acquired the Metrecal license from River West Brands, Chicago, a firm that
finds abandoned trademarks that have the potential to be brought back to
Healy says the product had 60 percent brand
recognition among consumers, yet did not have the negative connotations
that sometimes go along with a defunct brand. Instead, baby boomers
recalled the brand with nostalgia, she says.
The company completely reformulated the product,
starting with a base of skim milk, and added soluble fiber and 24 vitamins
“We started from scratch,” Healy says.
“We did interviews and qualitative work with baby boomers to find out
what was important to them. The No. 1 priority was that it tastes
The product has 120 calories and contains 4 grams of
fiber, 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 8 grams of
protein. The product carries the “Real” milk symbol, and is
available in three flavors: Simply Chocolate, French Vanilla Bean and
Strawberry Banana Twist. It retails for $4.99 to $5.99 per four-pack. If
all goes well with the beverage rollout, the company plans to add snack
bars to the lineup early next year.
Metrecal is in test markets with Wal-Mart and Rite
Aid, and soon will move into some Walgreens locations. The company plans
its first advertising push in the fall.