Kraft Heinz and Oprah Winfrey have unveiled a new refrigerated foods line called O, That’s Good!
When Kraft Heinz and Winfrey announced their joint venture, Mealtime Stories LLC, in January, they said that they were developing refrigerated meals aimed at making nutritious foods more widely available, but provided few other specifics.
The new brand, positioned as offering “a nutritious twist on comfort food classics,” is launching with four soups and four sides. The products incorporate added vegetables in classic dishes — for example, mashed cauliflower in mashed potatoes, and butternut squash in Three Cheese Pasta and broccoli cheddar soup.
“We worked closely with Oprah and a team of chefs to develop the line using real ingredients and no artificial flavors or dyes,” Christopher Urban, general manager of Mealtime Stories, LLC, tells Marketing Daily. “The passion Oprah has for bringing real food to the marketplace is the same passion that we have.”
Urban reports that the partners are already looking for opportunities to expand the brand
into other categories.
Meanwhile, the initial products are in some U.S. grocery retailers now, and will be rolled out nationwide by early October.
“Love”-Themed Launch Campaign
The new brand’s campaign, launching Oct. 2, will span national television, print, radio, digital/social media and in-store merchandising and coupons, according to Urban.
Not surprisingly, O The Oprah Magazine — a joint venture of Winfrey and Hearst Magazines — will be among the roster of print publications in the plan.
Winfrey will be featured prominently throughout the creative and across media, as well as on the product packaging, he confirms.
The advertising creative, from Roberts + Langer DDB, is themed “Love,” and was “inspired by Oprah’s love of comfort food and her desire to share this love with everyone,” Urban says. “The concept romances the ingredients and product with beautiful food shots and celebrates Oprah’s voice as she speaks about the foods she loves, bringing a nutritious twist on comfort food classics to everyone’s table.”
Winfrey has said that she was attracted to this particular venture both because she “loves healthy foods” and because Kraft Heinz pitched it to her as an opportunity to make nutritious comfort foods more widely accessible.
Suggested retail prices are $4.99 for the soups and $4.49 for the sides. Mealtime Stories will donate 10% of its profits, in equal portions, to Rise Against Hunger and Feeding America, according to the venture’s co-owners. Until the venture becomes profitable, The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation intends to make annual donations on behalf of Mealtime Stories to those charities.
The venture’s focus on refrigerated foods reflects grocery retailers’ shift toward reallocating store space from packaged and frozen foods to fresh and refrigerated foods, in line with consumers’ changing food preferences — the same dynamics behind big packaged food companies’ ongoing sales declines.
Kraft Heinz, which has not seen sales growth since it was created in a 2015 merger, clearly hopes to capitalize on Winfrey’s fame, and popularity and credibility with a broad cross-section of Americans and women in particular.
Adding to her string of successes, Winfrey’s 2015 investment in a 10% stake in Weight Watchers and presence as its marketing spokesperson have driven a dramatic turnaround for that long-flagging company. Its stock price jumped 189% between the start of this year and Aug. 3, when it was selling for more than $33 per share — up from $6 when Winfrey bought in. In the second quarter alone, membership subscriptions rose by 20% and sales gained 12%.
Weight Watchers has no formal connection to the Mealtime Stories venture. However, the H.J. Heinz Company owned Weight Watchers from 1978 to 1999, when it sold the company to Artal Luxembourg. Also, Kraft Heinz still makes the Weight Watchers Smart Ones line of frozen meals through a licensing deal. Investors “may be betting that Winfrey expanding her presence in the food industry will benefit Weight Watchers,” noted Bloomberg Markets.
Starcom is handling media for the campaign, and Olson Engage is handling PR.