retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Kraft Heinz has been accused of spending too much time cost-cutting and too little time really innovating. Even some of its innovations have been questionable - when “Mayochup” (which combined ketchup with mayonnaise) succeeded, it quickly came back with Mayomust and Mayocue - featuring mayo mixed with yellow mustard and classic barbecue sauce - which were widely panned.

Now, the company has come up with another innovation - frosting for salad. The belief seems to be that if you suggest to kids that you are putting cake frosting on their salad, they’ll actually eat it.

Now, I get the idea that sometimes you have to find ways to get kids to eat stuff they think they won’t like. That’s what ketchup is for - they put it on anything.

But I’m not sure that reinforcing the notion that sugary frosting is always appropriate for eating is the best idea - doesn’t it just perpetuate bad nutritional habits?

And then, there’s another problem - this new salad frosting product is essentially a lie. It is just ranch dressing in a toothpaste tube.

Not really an innovation at all. Just repackaging and deception.

Besides, as CNN notes, “ranch dressing isn't exactly the healthiest option for kids -- or grown-ups. Just 2 tablespoons Kraft's version has 110 calories, 11 grams of fat and 290 milligrams of sodium. The same amount of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting has more calories -- 140 -- but just 5 grams of fat and 70 milligrams of sodium.”

Yikes. Talk about an Eye-Opener.

Someone once said that if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, people eventually will accept it as the truth.

Same thing goes for little lies. Salad frosting isn’t a big lie … but it is the kind of little deception that I think nibbles away at a company’s dignity and an industry’s credibility. It convinces itself, as so many companies do, that this is really innovation. When it isn’t. Not really.
KC's View: