Nestlé Launches Upscale Dinner Line With a Media Cook-Off

To launch its new line of gourmet dinners, Nestlé U.S.A. partnered with a downtown cooking school, where members of the media cooked and sampled the new products.

By Walter Nicholls June 3, 2009, 5:17 PM EDT

Anytime Gourmet's wild salmon Dijon in puffed pastry

Photo: Tony Brown/Imijination Photography

Nestle U.S.A.'s Anytime Gourmet product launch
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On Monday night at the CulinAerie cooking studio, shades of purple dominated Nestlé U.S.A.’s media launch of its new line of upscale frozen dinners, dubbed Anytime Gourmet, a division of the company’s Stouffer’s brand. Anytime’s launch staff used the color broadly in signage, linens, aprons, and the media kit, in addition to the arrangements of purple-hued flowers designed by Jack H. Lucky Floral Design.

The company's color choice was intended to send a message. “With the research we did, this color gives a premium vibe,” said Nestlé marketing associate Kevin Holmes, who greeted guests at the door. “And with the economy as it is and the price point of the product from $9 to $15, getting people to try it is our biggest challenge.” He added that Nestlé chose Washington for the exclusive launch “because this area represents our target audience of high-dual-income consumers.”

The event began at 6 p.m. with a wine reception where the dozen journalists and their guests mingled near a display of the seven varieties of the product. The program started 30 minutes later, and everyone took their seats at stainless steel tables set with a metal baking tray, cutting board, and spatula. James Beard award winning cookbook author and event host Trish Magwood gave a demonstration on the product preparation while CulinAerie staffers delivered sample plates of the entrées to each table. Soon after, guests prepared and cooked their own entrée of wild salmon in puff pastry and moved from the work stations to a communal dining table for a final tasting.

During a brief question-and-answer session, servers delivered dessert, a frozen lemon soufflé and a mocha brownie, made with recipes from Magwood’s new cookbook, Dish Entertains. The evening ended at 8:30 p.m., when each participant received a copy of the cookbook and a bottle of red wine, tied with a purple ribbon.

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