Lean Cuisines have been a popular frozen diet meal option since the 1980s, providing an easy way for people to control calories and fat content. However, in recent years some Lean Cuisine products have been discontinued, leading some to wonder if the entire Lean Cuisine line is being phased out.
What is Lean Cuisine?
Lean Cuisine is a line of low-calorie frozen meals produced by Nestlé. The brand was launched in 1981 as a diet-friendly alternative to traditional frozen meals, which were often high in calories, fat, and sodium. Lean Cuisine meals contain controlled portion sizes and emphasize lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables while limiting fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.
Over the years, Lean Cuisine has expanded to offer a wide variety of meals, including pizzas, pastas, entrees, breakfasts, snacks, desserts, and more. The meals provide a convenient option for people trying to lose weight or watch their nutrition intake. The brand has also adapted with consumer preferences, expanding to include organic, gluten-free, high-protein, cauliflower-crust, and multi-serve options.
Have some Lean Cuisines been discontinued?
Yes, certain Lean Cuisine products have been discontinued over the years. Some examples of recently discontinued Lean Cuisine meals include:
- Swedish Meatballs
- Glazed Chicken
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Pot Roast
- Roasted Turkey & Vegetables
- Salmon with Basil
- Steak Tips Portabello
These discontinuations often occur when certain recipes become less popular over time. Nestlé evaluates sales and makes adjustments to the Lean Cuisine product lineup in an effort to meet changing consumer preferences.
Is the entire Lean Cuisine line being discontinued?
No, popular Lean Cuisine products are still widely available and the brand does not appear to be disappearing anytime soon. Some key evidence that Lean Cuisine is here to stay:
- Wide availability – Lean Cuisine meals are still stocked in the frozen food aisles of most major grocery stores across the U.S.
- New product introductions – In 2019 Lean Cuisine launched a new line of Organic Bowls made with organic vegetables and whole grains. In 2020 they introduced a line of Lean Cuisine Goodful bowls focused on trendy ingredients like cauliflower rice and sweet potatoes.
- Strong sales – While sales have softened a bit in recent years due to shifting consumer preferences, Lean Cuisine remains a major player in the frozen meal category with hundreds of millions in annual sales.
- Parent company support – Nestlé remains strongly committed to the Lean Cuisine brand, as evidenced by continued new product development and marketing support.
The discontinuation of some specific items does not signal the end for Lean Cuisine. Nestlé is simply evolving its offerings to ensure the brand stays relevant to contemporary tastes and nutrition preferences. Core Lean Cuisine product lines remain readily available.
Lean Cuisine Sales Trends
|Total Lean Cuisine Sales (Millions)
This table shows a modest sales decline in recent years as competing products gain ground. However, hundreds of millions in annual sales still represent a strong consumer base.
What new Lean Cuisine products are available?
While select items may be gone, Lean Cuisine continues to innovate and release new products to engage customers. Some of their newest offerings include:
In 2019, Lean Cuisine launched a line of USDA certified organic bowls, their first certified organic meals. Available in varieties like Chicken & Vegetables with Ancient Grains, Butternut Squash Risotto, and Chicken Tikka Masala, the bowls contain no preservatives or artificial flavors.
Introduced in 2020, Goodful bowls feature trendy ingredients like riced cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. The bowls are available in flavors like Cauliflower Rice Paella and Sweet Potato & Wild Rice Hash.
Nutrient Balance Meals
Lean Cuisine recently added new meals to their Nutrient Balance line, which emphasizes positive nutrition through nutrient-rich ingredients. New options include Lemony Salmon with Kale & Buckwheat and Chicken with Barley & Mushrooms.
Cauliflower Crust Pizzas
Joining the cauliflower crust trend, Lean Cuisine now offers pizzas like Margherita and Chicken Pesto made with a cauliflower-based crust for fewer carbs and calories.
High Protein Meals
To attract more health-conscious consumers, Lean Cuisine has added new high protein meal options like Steak with Green Beans & Farro and Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower Rice.
While select dishes have been dropped, these new product introductions demonstrate Lean Cuisine’s commitment to keeping its offerings relevant and on-trend.
What are some Lean Cuisine alternatives?
If you find your favorite Lean Cuisine is no longer available, there are lots of alternatives:
- Other Lean Cuisine meals – Try exploring different Lean Cuisine options in chicken, beef, vegetarian, pizzas, pastas, and more categories.
- Healthy Choice – Similar to Lean Cuisine with a range of frozen meals focused on controlled calories and fat.
- Amy’s – Natural frozen meals made with organic ingredients.
- Evol – Frozen meals featuring clean, high protein ingredients.
- RealGood Foods – Low-carb, high protein frozen meals based around chicken, pizza, and enchiladas.
- Beetnik Foods – Ready-to-eat bowls and bites focused on nutrient-dense beets.
- FreshlyFit – Fresh, dietitian-designed frozen meals delivered to your door.
- Factor_ – Ready-to-heat frozen meals tailored to different diet needs like keto and paleo.
There are now endless options for convenient, diet-friendly frozen meals beyond Lean Cuisine. Browse your grocer’s freezer section or meal delivery options to find something tasty that fits your nutritional needs.
Should I stock up on discontinued Lean Cuisines?
When beloved frozen meals get discontinued, some fans try to stock up before they disappear from stores. However, stockpiling discontinued Lean Cuisines is generally not recommended for a few reasons:
- Storage space – Frozen meals take up a lot of freezer space, so stocking up takes room away from other items.
- Expiration dates – Lean Cuisines expire within 6-12 months, so large quantities may spoil before you can eat them.
- Flavor changes – Frozen meals can deteriorate in flavor over time with prolonged freezing.
- New tastes – Your tastes may change over time so you end up not wanting to eat the stockpiled meals.
- Alternative options – As discussed above, there are plenty of other frozen meal options to explore as alternatives.
Instead of cluttering your freezer with a Lean Cuisine stockpile, take it as an opportunity to try some new frozen meals and brands that may end up pleasing your tastebuds just as much!
While select Lean Cuisine products have been discontinued recently, the popular line of frozen diet meals is still readily available in grocery stores and shows no signs of vanishing altogether. Nestlé remains committed to the brand, as evidenced by continued new product innovation and strong sales, albeit with a modest decline in recent years. Lean Cuisine lovers can rest assured that there are still plenty of options to choose from, even if a favorite has been dropped. And a wealth of other brands and products stand ready to fill any void. So although you may have to say goodbye to Swedish Meatballs or Glazed Chicken, Lean Cuisine as a whole looks poised to continue offering convenient, diet-friendly frozen fare for years to come.