Stouffer's

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Stouffer's logo used from 1992-2006.
Variant of the 1992 Stouffer's logo with stripe, as seen on boxes.


Stouffer's is a Nestlé[1] brand of frozen prepared foods available in the United States and Canada. Stouffer's is known for such popular fare as meatloaf, salisbury steak, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and ravioli. It also produces a line of reduced-fat products under the banner Lean Cuisine.

Contents

History

The Stouffer Corporation started with Abraham and Lena Mahala Stouffer once they said goodbye to their creamery business in Medina, Ohio[2] in 1922, which was located within a building shopping center in downtown Cleveland. There the Stouffer's provided dairy products such as buttermilk along with samples of crackers. After some time, they reaped the benefits of a successfully run deli. Then later on, Mrs. Stouffer’s Dutch apple pies and coffee[3] were added to the menu options. They were able to keep their dairy inventory stable with a farm in Richfield, Ohio, just south of Cleveland by 28 miles. Their oldest son Vernon graduated from Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania in 1923[4] and returned home to assist in his parents’ expanding business. With the leadership provided by Vernon and Gordon, the Stouffer’s second son, the company opened chains of diner businesses within Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York City, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. Stouffer’s restaurant placement in Chicago began in the 1950s at the Prudential Building, the highest standing edifice of Chicago during that period.

Marketing

Stouffer's have launched various marketing campaigns since the 1990s. One such was a packaging change in 1995. In order to compete with the blossoming restaurant market, Stouffer’s created the Take Home meal, which feeds two. In order to appeal to customers, Stouffer’s attempted a new marketing strategy that revealed a beige colored package and the classic Stouffer’s ribbon, which now contained the word “refrigerated.” Stouffer’s pushed this change in an attempt to remove itself from their classic frozen food emphasis. This change pulled them away from their normal red packaging, which is often associated with frozen foods, and pulled them toward a different image.[5]

Stouffer’s also launched the Let’s Fix Dinner campaign around 2010. This campaign focused on bringing families together around the dinner table in order to share a meal. Stouffer’s used a variety of marketing techniques in order to help gain awareness for this new campaign. The use of the Internet and print ads was incorporated in order to hit a wide audience. An online survey, webisodes, blogging round table, Facebook, and Twitter were all used online as a way to spread the word. This marketing technique used social media websites as a way to better market their new campaign. A Let’s Fix Dinner Challenge was also created as a way to help families reach a goal concerning their dinner habits. [6] This campaign built on the emotions of their audience as a way to sell their product. Commercials revealed families eating together, and research was also provided as a way to prove the benefits of family dinners. Stouffer’s commercials also directed its viewers to the website www.letsfixdinner.com in order to gain more background information and research concerning this topic. [7]

A newer programmed launched in 2012 titled Stouffer’s Sautes for Two “Put the Two Back in Tuesdays.” This campaign is focused on helping couples reconnect by providing a delicious meal that really does not take much time to prepare. The use of Facebook has been incorporated into this program in order to provide Facebook fans with discounts and coupons that will make these meals more appealing. Stouffer’s presented this campaign as a six-week program to challenge couples to connect over an easy dinner. [8]

Products

Stouffer's has a variety of different refrigerated product options for consumers, taking into account their different taste preferences and how many people they are eating with. They offer foods in both individual and family-size portions. A full list of Stouffers products can be found on the Products page of their website.

Various organizations have rated Stouffer's products. Good Guide uses the categories of healthiness, environmental and social impact; Chicken Alfredo is Stouffer's most popular product with a 7.3 overall score: 10 points for healthiness, 6.3 for environmental impact, and 5.5 for social impact. The second place item, Stouffer's Beef Stew, gets an overall ranking of 5.9: 6.1 for healthiness, 6.3 for environmental impact, and 5.5 for social impact. Their lowest ranked product, Stouffers Pot Pie, Turkey White Meat, got an overall score of 4.5: 1.8 for healthiness (due to high saturated fat), 6.3 for environmental impact, and 5.5 for social impact. [9]

CalorieCount, rating entirely on calories, gives Stouffer's Chicken Alfredo a C- with 320 calories, 16g of fat, 4.5 of saturated fat, 30mg of cholesterol, and 890mg of sodium. Stouffer's Beef Stew receives a C with 280 calories, 9g of fat, 3.1g of saturated fat, 40mg of cholesterol, and 1000mg of sodium. Stouffer's Pot Pie, Turkey White Meat, receives a D with 570 calories, 31.9g of fat, 12g of saturated far, 55mg of cholesterol, and 1170mg of sodium. [10]

Legal Dealings

Over time, Stouffer's has not had an above-average number of legal problems. Not many notable issues have arisen, despite false advertising or contaminant complaints common to all food companies.

One such false advertising claim occurred in 1991. The Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint that Stouffer Foods had misrepresented sodium content in their Lean Cuisine entrees by stating that they were low in sodium. Stouffers argued that the campaign had focused on good taste and controlled sodium, fat, and calories. They also argued that the sodium claim was relative, reflecting a lower amount of sodium, not necessarily that the entrees were low sodium. However, the Administrative Law Judge ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission.[11]

Another instance related to advertising occurred in 2003. Applebee’s sued Stouffer’s for trademark infringement of their marketing term “Skillet Sensations” back in 1997. Applebee's had a line of "Skillet Sensations" of their own and claimed that it caused confusion for customers that believed the Stouffer's line was linked to theirs. The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favor of Applebee's.[12]

On March 14, 2011, a recall was placed on Lean Cuisine spaghetti and meatballs. Consumers reported finding pieces of plastic in their meals, and subsequently over 10,000 pounds of the product were recalled.[13]

References

  1. ^ stouffers.com, FAQ, retrieved 16 May 2012
  2. ^ "Stouffer Corp.". Funding Universe. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Stouffer-Corp-company-History.html. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Stouffer Corp.". Funding Universe. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Stouffer-Corp-company-History.html. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Something Like Mom's". TIME Magazine. Nov. 30 1962. 
  5. ^ Spethmann, Betsy (2). "Stouffer’s pitches ‘take home’ ease". Brandweek 36 (1): 18. 
  6. ^ Gordon, Kat. "Warm Blanket Award #6: Stouffer's". http://blog.maternalinstinct.net/2010/02/warm-blanket-award-6-stouffers.html. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Brown, Bill. "Stouffers – Doing it right". http://www.smartguidetomarketing.com/2010/02/stouffers-doing-it-right/. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Stouffer’s Hopes To ‘Put the Two Back in Tuesdays’". Shelby Publishing. http://www.theshelbyreport.com/2012/02/07/stouffers-hopes-to-put-the-two-back-in-tuesdays/. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Best Stouffer's Ratings". http://www.goodguide.com/brands/215025-stouffer. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Calorie Count". The New York Times Company. http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/search2.php?searchpro=stouffer%27s&search_type=foods&grp_id=&manu=&s_order=&spell=1. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Andrews, J. Craig; Thomas J. Maronick (Fall 1995). "Advertising Research Issues from FTC versus Stouffer Foods Corporation". Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 14 (2): 301-309. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30000137. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Applebee's sues over 'Skillet Sensations' label". Nation's Restaurant News. FindArticles.com. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_42_37/ai_109271523/. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Lean Cuisine Spaghetti and Meatballs Recall Due to Plastic Debris". AboutLawsuits.com. http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a31cbde4-d96c-4c6c-9892-20e947f45686. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 

External links