Martha’s Frozen Dinners

I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that Martha “Made from Scratch” Stewart is developing a line of frozen dinners with Costco. (She’s also developing fresh and refrigerated foods, but I’m stuck on the frozen.)

The bitch in me automatically snaps, “Isn’t that Rachael Ray territory?” However, even the Queen of Quickies isn’t going there. (Yet.)

The International Herald Tribune article, like me, asks the question, “So why would Stewart sell frozen dinners at Costco?” and then answers:

One obvious reason would be to try to improve her company’s disappointing bottom line. The deal with Costco, which has one Charleston-area store, was announced along with first-quarter financial results that showed a net loss of $11.9 million, wider than the $6.8 million loss in the same quarter last year. ...

In a conference call Thursday, Susan Lyne, chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, called food the ‘greatest untapped opportunity’ for the company.

Food, she said, is the No. 1 area for visits on the company’s Web site, which features recipes and cooking tips, suggesting that Stewart’s fans trust her on matters of gastronomy.

Well … sure, and I know she’s not the first television food personality to go this route. Last year, Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa teamed up with Stonewall Kitchen and created the Barefoot Contessa Pantry line, which includes mixes, marinades, sauces, and condiments. But to me, Costco frozen foods seems incredibly antithetical to who Martha Stewart is and has been over her whole career.

I get that a falling bottom line is a powerful persuader, but I don’t know—it still makes me rather sad. Then again, I could be painting a too-dark picture. After all, frozen foods have come a long way since Swanson plonked apple strudels in the top center square. Right?

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