Retired Celebrity Chef Looks to Make Triumphant Return – 2/22/08
Television cooks, especially longtime British heroine Delia Smith, can massively increase product sales for retailers. Since her first version of How to Cheat at Cooking, published in 1971, Ms. Smith has sold some 19 million books – along with hundreds of thousands of the many ingredients and implements required for reproducing her dishes.
This time around, she is endorsing packaged and processed shortcut foods and ingredients for the first time. Her argument is not just that people are busy, busy, busy with far more important things to do and/or have simply not been taught how to cook. She also believes that they are intimidated by too many food shows on television with chefs doing things that mere mortals can’t even begin to contemplate attempting.
Britain’s grocers are frantically stocking their shelves with products mentioned. The publicity machine around the book, which lists some 100 “hidden servants,” is in full swing. The publisher has sent the relevant producers handy stickers labeling them “A Delia Cheat! Ingredient.”
Discussion questions: What do you think has been the impact of celebrity chefs and cookbook authors on U.S. grocery sales? Has the effect become more pronounced with the explosion of cooking shows on channels such as the Food Network? How can grocers capitalize more on their popularity?
Celebrity chefs, particularly from the Food Network, have had a massive impact on all things food-related in our country and around much of the world. Grocery stores (and restaurants) have done a reasonably good job of providing wanted, once-exotic, products and ingredients to even the most rural communities. Remember when there was only one or two kinds of each of the vegetables and fruits in the produce section?
Grocery chain buyers should continue to monitor the key celebrity chefs but most importantly, they need to listen to consumer requests and provide product, books, appearances, etc.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist
GO TO THE FULL DISCUSSION AT RETAILWIRE.COM:
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