Kraft Heinz Looks To Tap Oprah Mojo Amid Struggle To Boost Sales
Kraft Heinz Co, struggling to ignite sales growth amid punishing grocery-industry competition, is turning to media magnate Oprah Winfrey to break out of a prolonged slump.
Winfrey, pivotal to the turnaround at Weight Watchers International since she bought a stake in that company and agreed to pitch the brand, is the face of a new line of refrigerated soups and side dishes made without artificial flavours and dyes. The products have begun hitting shelves and will available nationwide in October, Kraft Heinz said in a statement Wednesday.
Winfrey’s wide-ranging appeal makes her an attractive spokesman for products, and Kraft Heinz is hoping that a bit of her mojo will help it ignite sales growth. The company describes the new products, which will be sold under the “O, That’s Good!” brand, as “nutritious twists” on comfort foods like mashed potatoes and broccoli cheddar soup.
“I love healthy foods and eating from my garden,” Winfrey said in the statement. “When Kraft Heinz approached me for a food line, what got my attention is making nutritious comfort foods more accessible to everyone.”
Kraft Heinz hasn’t posted sales growth since the company was created in a 2015 merger orchestrated by the private equity firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Its competitors in the packaged-food industry are slumping too - the largest food companies in the US have lost almost $16 billion in sales over the past three years amid broad shifts in how consumers eat and shop.
Kraft, known more for slashing costs than nurturing brands, has tried to update its portfolio to meet changing tastes, adding organic Capri Sun and removing artificial ingredients from Oscar Mayer hot dogs.
In January, the company said that it was working with Winfrey to develop new refrigerated products. The former television host, meanwhile, has seen the value of her investment in Weight Watchers surge to more than $400 million this year. That company’s stock has quadrupled in 2017, partly because of ads touting Winfrey’s weight loss on its diet program.