Food & Drink

Lean Cuisine question

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 10th, 2021 1:15 pm
[OP]
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
19662 posts
6603 upvotes
Toronto

Lean Cuisine question

If the idea is to be "lean" why did Lean Cuisine boost the calorie count on their Chicken Parmesan?
OR
If a higher calorie count is what people actually want, (or if it somehow is a good thing) then why not just market it like that?
"Lean Cusine! Now with MORE CALORIES!!!" lol

Before: 240 calories (old packaging)

Image

New Packaging, now with more calories (330 calories):

Image
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
18 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 16, 2011
7179 posts
9153 upvotes
The NORTH
Without seeing the macros, there is no way to know what the change is... Could it be more protein (doubt it) or more sugar (my bet)... My guess is that the Lean is strictly marketing and the meal has more sugar in it to hook people with the taste.

It also looks like the chicken has gone from boneless/skinless chicken meat to a breaded cutlet; or what people lovingly call 'chicken bread'...
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
29051 posts
14594 upvotes
kr0zet wrote: It also looks like the chicken has gone from boneless/skinless chicken meat to a breaded cutlet; or what people lovingly call 'chicken bread'...
That's my guess too.
I'm not sure what I'd pick to be honest.
On one hand unbreaded chicken parm is just... weird.... even if it's a "lean" thing.
On the other hand, breaded, frozen, smothered in sauce, then reheated in a microwave is gonna produce a soggy breading which while "lean" (relative to the context of the word, not the predecessor) is just nasty.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
19662 posts
6603 upvotes
Toronto
kr0zet wrote: Without seeing the macros, there is no way to know what the change is... Could it be more protein (doubt it) or more sugar (my bet)... My guess is that the Lean is strictly marketing and the meal has more sugar in it to hook people with the taste.

It also looks like the chicken has gone from boneless/skinless chicken meat to a breaded cutlet; or what people lovingly call 'chicken bread'...
Okay, notice that the old ingredient list starts with Diced tomatoes while the new (doesn't even say new recipe or anything, lol) packaging mentions pasta as the first ingredient. They (very) quietly made changes, perhaps for the cheaper. (?)

Old ingredient list: https://www.grocerygateway.com/store/gr ... 5000563543

New ingredient list: https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/lean-cuisi ... 0191269944
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 16, 2011
7179 posts
9153 upvotes
The NORTH
playnicee1 wrote: Okay, notice that the old ingredient list starts with Diced tomatoes while the new (doesn't even say new recipe or anything, lol) packaging mentions pasta as the first ingredient. They (very) quietly made changes, perhaps for the cheaper. (?)

Old ingredient list: https://www.grocerygateway.com/store/gr ... 5000563543

New ingredient list: https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/lean-cuisi ... 0191269944
The change in ingredients is always for the cheaper, corporates can't raise prices as customers won't pay but they can shrink the serving size or cheap out on the recipe. In this case they have loaded empty carbs from the trash pasta and chicken breading. The macros show that despite the serving size being the same, the carbs are up over 20% while everything else is about even. Carbs are from the breading on the chicken and the increase of pasta.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
19662 posts
6603 upvotes
Toronto
kr0zet wrote: The change in ingredients is always for the cheaper, corporates can't raise prices as customers won't pay but they can shrink the serving size or cheap out on the recipe. In this case they have loaded empty carbs from the trash pasta and chicken breading. The macros show that despite the serving size being the same, the carbs are up over 20% while everything else is about even. Carbs are from the breading on the chicken and the increase of pasta.
False pic on the box. The chicken has almost no breading. (so little it is barely noticed, if at all)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
12217 posts
7298 upvotes
kr0zet wrote: The change in ingredients is always for the cheaper, corporates can't raise prices as customers won't pay but they can shrink the serving size or cheap out on the recipe. In this case they have loaded empty carbs from the trash pasta and chicken breading. The macros show that despite the serving size being the same, the carbs are up over 20% while everything else is about even. Carbs are from the breading on the chicken and the increase of pasta.
+6 g carbs (+18%)
+5 g fat (+63%, reason for the big calorie bump at 9kcal/g fat and only 4kcal/g for carbs)
+1 g saturated fat

Less tomato means less water so the macros totals are higher. The breading would add both carbs & fat but even the original version chicken was breaded.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 16, 2011
7179 posts
9153 upvotes
The NORTH
lecale wrote: +6 g carbs (+18%)
+5 g fat (+63%, reason for the big calorie bump at 9kcal/g fat and only 4kcal/g for carbs)
+1 g saturated fat

Less tomato means less water so the macros totals are higher. The breading would add both carbs & fat but even the original version chicken was breaded.
Are you sure the original was breaded? I could have sworn that I bought a couple of these for nights the ex was away with the kids and I didn't want to cook and the chicken was not breaded. I might be wrong though...

You're spot on with the macros though.
Member
Jul 28, 2017
259 posts
694 upvotes
Whoever is in charge of taking the food pictures should be fired.

The old one looks more delicious (for a frozen meal).
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
12217 posts
7298 upvotes
kr0zet wrote: Are you sure the original was breaded? I could have sworn that I bought a couple of these for nights the ex was away with the kids and I didn't want to cook and the chicken was not breaded. I might be wrong though...

You're spot on with the macros though.
I have not bought them for a long time but I remember the chicken as breaded.

If you look at the macros as percent of calories from fat, carbs, protein, the % of carbs is similar, (45% new, 48% old) whereas the percent from fat has risen quite a bit (34% new, 26% old) and the percent from protein has relatively fallen (21% new, 26% old)

So they have just made it tastier by adding more fat & balanced that out by adding more carbs. Not really "lean" anymore at 34% of calories from fat. 330kcal is still a small meal. Maybe they added fat & more pasta to bump the feeling of satiety.
Deal Addict
Jan 10, 2009
1557 posts
949 upvotes
Toronto
Retrodude wrote: Whoever is in charge of taking the food pictures should be fired.

The old one looks more delicious (for a frozen meal).
At least the new image is more honest with how much cheese and sauce you're getting.
Deal Guru
Jun 29, 2010
10225 posts
4658 upvotes
Toronto
330 calories is still pretty “lean” for a meal.
If I had to eat this, I’d need at least 2 to feel like I had a satisfying meal…probably more
Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
19662 posts
6603 upvotes
Toronto
ShoNuff2 wrote: 330 calories is still pretty “lean” for a meal.
If I had to eat this, I’d need at least 2 to feel like I had a satisfying meal…probably more
Okay, but we're not talking 20 or 30 calorie difference here. It went from being 240 calories to being 330 calories. A 90 calorie jump.
I wonder if competing sources have made a note, perhaps with intent to copy the original recipe to their benefit.
PC Blue Menu would be smart to crawl all over this!
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Deal Expert
Dec 4, 2010
19529 posts
2242 upvotes
Quarantine Bubble
Fun fact? Well more observation than fact but if you take the regular lean cuisine and the “weight watchers” version it’s literally just lesser quantity. People are literally giving these companies more money just to habe them package less of their products instead of using restraint and exercise portion control. I learned this the hard way many years back when I bought one of the ravioli meals and inside had like 4-5 instead of say double that in the regular counterpart.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
19662 posts
6603 upvotes
Toronto
Supercooled wrote: Fun fact? Well more observation than fact but if you take the regular lean cuisine and the “weight watchers” version it’s literally just lesser quantity. People are literally giving these companies more money just to habe them package less of their products instead of using restraint and exercise portion control. I learned this the hard way many years back when I bought one of the ravioli meals and inside had like 4-5 instead of say double that in the regular counterpart.
Is Smart Ones the Weight watcher's brand? I find it strange that they go through all the trouble of being "new and improved", but yet they can't be bothered advertising the calorie count etc on the front the way Lean Cuisine does...it's also a LARGER portion. 283g vs 268g

Image
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 22, 2005
12037 posts
4842 upvotes
I have these for lunch now and then - honestly the calorie difference is not a big deal.

Like someone else said, it's still a very low number, especially compared with most other lunch options.
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
12217 posts
7298 upvotes
playnicee1 wrote: Okay, but we're not talking 20 or 30 calorie difference here. It went from being 240 calories to being 330 calories. A 90 calorie jump.
I wonder if competing sources have made a note, perhaps with intent to copy the original recipe to their benefit.
PC Blue Menu would be smart to crawl all over this!
It is 280 kcal to 330 kcal, a 50 kcal jump.

With 5g more fat at 9 kcal/g, 45 kcal of that is going to be fat.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
19662 posts
6603 upvotes
Toronto
lecale wrote: It is 280 kcal to 330 kcal, a 50 kcal jump.
I was going by what's on the box. Old box clearly reads 240 calories vs new box with 330 calories.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
12217 posts
7298 upvotes
playnicee1 wrote: I was going by what's on the box. Old box clearly reads 240 calories vs new box with 330 calories.
Oh, I was going by the info on Grocery Gateway. Box is correct then.

grocerygateway.png

Top