Stouffer‘s seems mighty proud that their Lean Cuisine Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli dinner is “culinary inspired.” That sounds quite upscale until you look up culinary which means “of or for cooking” according to Chef Google. So, assuming we can believe the marketing, the new Lean Cuisine “Marketplace” line of frozen meals is inspired by stuff vaguely related to cooking. Whew, what a relief!
And I think we can believe the marketing because that’s somebody’s paid job. In fact, that’s a lot of people’s jobs. The Marketing Department received a mandate to freshen up the packaging. Many ideas were generated and a team of people were paid to come up with them and narrow them down to a short list. There were story boards and Powerpoint presentations prepared, and then even more people who draw salaries for their participation evaluated and eventually signed off on the idea. A graphic artist or two was paid to design the cover art, put that word balloon in there, stretch it into an ellipse, and make the decision that it should bleed off the edge of the package.
Nobody goes to that much trouble for pure fiction, right? Surely one of the Stouffer’s chefs woke up one day with a plan:
“Eureka! I have it! There’s not a frozen meal on the market inspired by, you know, COOKING. Not even ours. Well, we are going to change that. Beginning today all our recipes are going to be inspired by stuff related to cooking! Why didn’t we think of this sooner? We will make a fortune! Does anyone here know anybody with experience cooking or around kitchens in general?”
Remember, by the way, this hypothetical person is a chef.
Tales of this incident then went viral inside the company and eventually reached the marketing department where they in turn inspired the creative team. And THAT, my friends, is how marketing genius is born. See? Miracles do happen.
While I’m happy that Stouffer’s is now taking meal recipe inspiration from things “of or for cooking,” doesn’t it beg the question of what’s been their inspiration up to now? The scratch-and-dent discount list at the granary? Things whose leftovers make good science projects if forgotten in the fridge for a month? Random Pinterest boards? The possibilities boggle the mind.
Unless you, dear reader, work for Stouffer’s we can only guess. But that actually seems like fun. If you had to guess, and you do so play along, what do you think was the inspiration for Lean Cuisine meal recipes that Stouffer’s made do with before they decided to change to culinary? Leave your best guesses in the comments below. I’ll send the winner a Lean Cuisine coupon.