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“Supermarket Superstar,” a new competition series from the cable network Lifetime that will premiere Monday, July 22, will give contestants the opportunity to have their products picked up by a major supermarket operator -- in this case, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P).
Hosted by actress/model Stacy Keibler, each one-hour episode of “Supermarket Superstar” follows three home chefs as they pitch their products to prominent food industry figures, with the goal of having the item launched nationally at a well-known grocery chain. Serving as advisers to the contestants are chef, vintner, TV host and specialty food pioneer Michael Chiarello; cookie mogul Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies; and branding expert and food product consultant Chris Cornyn. Aided by Chiarello (who’s also an executive producer of the show) and R&D chef Andrew Hunter, the contestants will fine-tune their recipes to impress targeted focus groups of real-life consumers, on the way to ultimate supermarket acceptance. The contestants who survive that challenge must then develop professional packaging to present their products to Tom Dahlen, supermarket buyer for Montvale, N.J.-based A&P, who will choose the winner of each episode.
The last cook left will receive $10,000 in prize money and $100,000 worth of product development from Cornyn’s company, Foster City, Calif.-based DINE Marketing, and its parent, Mattson, the largest independent food and beverage innovation company in the United States, to create professional samples of his or her product. For the series finale, three winners from the season will return to compete for the grand prize by presenting their respective products to A&P CEO Sam Martin, with the ultimate winner’s product launched in A&P supermarkets and its affiliated chains nationwide.
“‘Supermarket Superstar’ brings the world of food innovation and food development to America,” Cornyn told Progressive Grocer. “Never has the process of developing a food product and brand been unraveled and shared with the world in a compelling and entertaining way. Every American goes to the supermarket, and most everyone has an idea for a food product. Now everyone can see how to actually get a product onto shelves. My role on the show is to help food entrepreneurs develop, commercialize and brand their food products alongside my fellow mentors. It is the same thing I do every day at work at Mattson/DINE.”
Continued Cornyn: The most important task I have as a mentor is to make sure each entrepreneur creates ‘shelf-evident’ packaging. That is, challenge them to create a brand and a package that immediately conveys what they are selling. Truth is, there is a lot of food packaging that gets lost on the supermarket shelf because no one knows what it is. Thirty percent of products in a market are not even seen by the consumer. Furthermore, a consumer spends all of 2.4 seconds deciding whether to pick up a food package -- so you have to get your point across immediately. Failing to do so is a big reason nine out of 10 new products fizzle out. The real goal of ‘Supermarket Superstar’ is to push the entrepreneurs to develop disruptive ideas.”
Lifetime has ordered 10 episodes of “Supermarket Superstar,” which is produced by The Weinstein Co. (“Project Runway”) and All3Media America (“Undercover Boss”).