- Professional swimmer Natalie Coughlin is endorsing and investing in Luvo, a company that claims to make frozen foods a healthier option. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and retired New York Yankees baseball player Derek Jeter are also investors in the startup.
- Luvo's frozen food products, including pizzas, burritos, and other entrees, are made with ingredients that the company says are fresher than the ingredients in other frozen food items.
- Frozen food sales have declined for three years in a row, which situates Luvo in a challenging industry.
This isn't the first time food and beverage companies have tapped athletes for celebrity endorsements of their products. That has been true even when those products may not be the healthy choices that people might normally associate with an athlete's diet. In this case, frozen foods have long been a part of the processed foods segment, which is currently being left behind by consumers who favor healthier products with fewer artificial ingredients.
Celebrity endorsements have been key both for and against food and beverage companies in the past. One idea for companies, as modeled by Luvo, could be to not only make products healthier in some way, such as Nestle did by removing artificial flavors from its frozen pizzas, but they could also associate a celebrity endorsement with the new healthy product or current product's healthy makeover.
Companies' strategic employment of celebrity endorsements is crucial as some athletes and celebrities have taken a stand against major food and beverage companies. This has included soda companies and companies that use GMOs, even though those athletes and celebrities may be walking away from major sponsorship contracts.