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Kirstie Alley’s Organic and GMO Food Beliefs Don’t Align With New Jenny Craig Partnership

Kirstie Alley is back at Jenny Craig. That’s the big celebrity diet news of the week, and Kirstie is loud and proud about it. Would you expect anything less from her?kirstie alley

She’s “excited” to be back at Jenny Craig, saying she missed her consultant. It’s undoubtedly her most lucrative partnering with the brand yet. She spent much of the early part of the decade as the spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, losing a lot of her highly publicized weight. She left in early 2008, citing a desire to create her own brand. Today, that’s known as Organic Liaison. Today, it’s also no longer her brand.

Jenny Craig’s mother company, CI Holdings (which bought Jenny Craig from Nestle recently), not only signed Kirstie to rep the brand once again, but bought her company. Now the program is what Kirstie is calling “a hybrid approach,” as it will “very, very soon” be incorporating her Organic Liasion weight loss products in to the Jenny Craig menu of offerings.

“I can get to millions [of new customers] with this,” Kirstie told us in an interview yesterday. Initially, Jenny Craig customers will be offered Rescue Me, the most popular product in her supplement line. It’s something the actress has told us she drinks every day, throughout the day.

“If I wasn’t drinking Rescue Me, getting these specific nutrients and specific antioxidants, it would be two weeks and I’d be back to craving sugar and heavier foods,” she told us in an interview last January.

In that same interview she told me that she “worships energy and organic eating,” and that, at least to me, is where the plot thickens. Kirstie and I spent about an hour in her comfortably beautiful home in Wichita, Kansas last January, where the bulk of the conversation revolved around organics, GMOs, and other aspects of clean eating in the name of health. Something quite amiss from Jenny Craig foods.

So how does Jenny Craig play in to that? It certainly appears to be a conflict between the brand she’s created and the one she’s pitching. Jenny Craig is widely known for having some of the most processed, packaged food around. A dietitian at Epicurious wrote, “The ingredient lists were also unimpressive, dominated by additives, artificial ingredients, added sugars, and hydrogenated oils (i.e., trans fats).”

While Jenny Craig has parted ways with Nestle, that brand is well known for being one of the largest GMO abusers. Nestle spent $1.16 million to oppose GMO labels in California. Jenny Craig’s communications team did not respond to questions about the presence of GMOs, availability of organic ingredients or products, or other chemical and processed ingredients.

“I did a lot of research and found…our food is laced with chemicals, hormones, antibiotics,” she passionately explained to me in last year’s interview. “[Our food] is laced with GMOs, which are proven not to digest well and create food allergies.” Kirstie stood firm in our discussion yesterday that she feels the same now as she did then, and holds that she was “in to organics” during her first stint with Jenny Craig, too.

As the meal plan calls for supplementing with your own fresh produce, Kirstie says she uses all organic. She chalks up the new partnership to a learning experience for both sides. For her, that’s learning how and what to eat, and according to her, they can learn a bit about organics. She doesn’t expect it to happen in 2014, but foresees a line of organic frozen entrees.

Kirstie thinks the fact that “people won’t start eating all organic overnight” is another reason the partnership works. Everyone can evolve in to this new direction together; and she plans to “lead by example.”

And what about the idea that Kirstie returning to Jenny Craig plays in to the cycle of yo-yo dieting? We think it does very much so. “They are basically advertising the biggest flaw in their program,” commented Roni Noone, a weight loss success story in her own right and thought leader amongst the weight loss and healthy living blogging community.

Her return as the face of the company could bode very well for Jenny Craig in sales and marketing, that is, if everyone can get past her “circus fat” comment made in her debut TV commercial. She explains herself in this excerpt from our interview.

April 9th, 2014

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