Kraft Heinz and the Food Network have partnered to launch a lineup of salad dressings, cooking sauces and meal kits, according to a company statement. The products contain no artificial flavors, colors or dyes.
The new grocery product line, called Food Network Kitchen Inspirations, is the first such initiative from the cable channel. Its goal is to inspire consumers to experiment with global flavors in their home kitchens. The products include eight salad dressing varieties, five cooking sauces and five types of meal kits.
"With busy schedules, we know that weeknights can be the hardest time to try new recipes, but with Food Network Kitchen Inspirations salad dressings, cooking sauces and meal kits, people can now make convenient meals without sacrificing flavor," Ron Feinbaum, senior vice president and general manager of home promotions and consumer products for Discovery, Food Network's parent company, said in a statement.
Kraft Heinz's Springboard incubator program recently announced a partnering effort to market the Momofuku restaurant chain's popular chili sauce nationwide, but this is the first time the company has launched a retail product lineup in collaboration with a TV channel. These innovations come after Credit Suisse downgraded the company to "underperform," citing its lack of product innovation as a warning sign despite its investment in cleaning up existing product labels. Both partnerships could help the company's sales get back on track and boost consumer interest by aligning with well-known, trendy brands.
The deal with Food Network is likely to be the more impactful of the two. Statista research shows the Food Network had about 41.39 million viewers during a seven-day period in the spring of 2017. And while that's a far cry from the channel's high point of 57.83 million viewers in the fall of 2010, it's certainly nothing to sneeze at. Statista also noted that the Food Network posted $932.6 million in operating revenue in 2016, which was up from the previous two years.
With that many viewers, plus Kraft Heinz' research, development and marketing chops, this new line of international-style cuisine could prove to be a real draw for busy consumers who want to create flavorful meals. Exotic flavors are showing up in all types of food and beverage products these days and are likely to draw the coveted millennial demographic, which likes to experiment with different tastes.
The partnership is also a smart co-branding move since the Food Network is high-profile and Kraft Heinz is well-known for its mac and cheese, ketchup and Oscar Mayer hot dogs — all iconic American products with a built-in fan base. For those reasons alone, consumers may be willing to give Food Network Kitchen Inspirations products a try. And if the Food Network decides to feature Kraft Heinz products on one of its shows as a tie-in, so much the better for the longtime CPG company.