Oprah brings star power to grocery shelves with 'O, That's Good!' prepared foods
- Media mogul Oprah Winfrey's refrigerated comfort foods, produced through a partnership with Kraft Heinz, are getting to store shelves this week, according to Grub Street. The eight products all have at least one vegetable added to the recipe. They will be available nationwide by October.
- The four soups and four side dishes have no artificial ingredients, and 10% of the profits go to hunger-relief organizations. The soups are expected to retail for $4.99, and the other items are $4.49.
- This new brand has no connection to Winfrey’s deal with Weight Watchers, and won’t mention the weight loss program or "points" on its packaging. “This product line is real, delicious food with a twist,” Winfrey said in a statement Wednesday.
"O, That’s Good!" is an effort on the part of both Kraft Heinz and Winfrey to manufacture healthier versions of favorite American comfort foods — not diet food. This heat-and-eat initial launch includes original mashed potatoes and garlic mashed potatoes (both have cauliflower added), three cheese pasta (with butternut squash), creamy parmesan pasta (with white beans), broccoli cheddar soup (with butternut squash), creamy tomato basil soup (with celery and carrots), baked potato soup (with cauliflower) and creamy butternut squash soup (with sweet potatoes and carrots).
It was a smart move for Kraft Heinz to include Winfrey in this latest launch. While it has been six years since her talk show went off the air, she is still a trusted name with one of the highest familiarity rankings. Kraft Heinz is a trusted and popular brand in its own right, so this collaboration has the potential to make a major impact in the refrigerated foods aisle.
The concept of healthier comfort foods could provide a welcomed crutch for consumers trying to eat better. According to Nielsen’s Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, roughly 60% of American say they are actively making dietary choices to improve their health. But giving up mashed potatoes cold turkey can be difficult. This new product launch could be just the thing to help consumers take a first step down a more nutritious road.
Celebrity endorsement of food products goes back decades. In the 1950’s, Groucho Marx joined Tony the Tiger in a Frosted Flakes ad. A 2016 study by NYU researchers found that almost every food or drink a music celebrity endorses and promotes through commercials is unhealthy. Soda, sugary drinks, fast food and sweets were the most common foods and drinks to be endorsed. This Winfrey-Kraft Heinz deal has the potential to use both powerful brands to balance the scales and encourage healthier eating habits.
In 2017, there have been a number of successful celebrity endorsed food and beverage products. Christopher Walken and Justin Timberlake teamed up to work with Bai Brands, poking fun at the lyrics of Timberlake’s N’Sync hit "Bye, Bye, Bye." Snickers has also had a string of successful promotions with celebrities with the "You’re not you when you’re hungry" theme, most recently with Adam Driver.
The price point could be a challenge to the products' success. The prepared soups are $4.99 and appear to be a single serving. A can of Amy’s Organic low-fat cream of tomato soup is $2.79 by comparison. It remains to be seen if Oprah's star power and the product quality will leave consumers agreeing with the branding.
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