Today I came across a Wall Street Journal article, “Adding Zest to Recipes on Labels,” and had to share. It’s about the process behind those “back of the package” recipes, which I’ve always wondered how they were created (seriously, whoever came up with Green Bean Casserole was a marketing genius). The article offers a behind the scenes look at how companies create the recipes that feature their product (while inevitably encouraging the purchase of additional products) and how the process has changed as Americans have developed more sophisticated palates and demand more interesting ingredients:
“America's increasingly sophisticated palate, influenced by TV cooking shows, celebrity chefs and gourmet ingredients, presents a problem. Food companies need to figure out how to update their recipes to entice today's more ambitious cooks to use products that might otherwise sit on the shelf for months. The recipes must make cooks feel like they're doing more than just adding eggs to a mix, but not use so many ingredients to require a special trip to the store. If they get too trendy, they risk alienating their core consumers.”
I’ve never been one for back of the box recipes (with exception to the Nestle Tollhouse Cookie recipe), but the drastic improvements companies are making to their recipes may just encourage me to give it a try. The Campbell’s Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes recipe cited in the article may just warrant a future taste test.
Link to the article and the recipe: "Adding Zest to Recipes on Labels"