Photo: cfinke, Flickr
After market research, the company found that most parents have forgotten about the brand since it disappeared from the mainstream radar -- perhaps replaced by frozen, microwavable dinners -- but most kids, upon trying the canned meals, love them. Most parents, however, are skeptical about what's actually nutritious about the meals, so don't buy them. The new TV ad, which first aired yesterday, anchors the concept with a mother serving the canned noodles with a hush, as if to say: your kids will love it, and they'll never know they're eating whole grains.
A second TV ad features a kid punished for leaking the secret that Chef Boyardee has vegetables. The print ads feature little boys and girls hugging broccoli and wheat in soft, old-fashioned illustrations with delicate type and are set to run in early fall issues of Everyday with Rachael Ray, Family Run and Family Circle.
Has Chef Boyardee adopted Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious approach of masking broccoli behind a brownie? Is this the latest crime in mislabeling? Or has the company simply re-presented itself as something it always was? The company's first cans were produced in the 1920s after recipes were popularly requested from a restaurant in Ohio owned by Italian-American Chef Ettore Boiardi (later mass-marketed as "Boyardee"). So would Boiardi approve?
As always, it's best to look behind the frame of a Norman Rockwell, or ask your waiter -- in this case, check the all-telling nutritional facts on the reverse side label.