Utah: All Hail Jell-O

Last time we checked in with the folks in Utah, they were busy using prison inmates to call potential tourists. But now their image is again soaring, thanks to their love of Jell-O.

     As the top Jell-O-eating state (a distinction reclaimed this year after two frightening years trailing Iowa), Utah has declared Jell-O its official snack.

     "We were absolutely delighted when Utah came back and took the title, and when consumers in Utah wanted to be known as the Jell-O state," Jeri Finard, desserts GM at Jell-O parent Kraft Foods, tells Shoptalk.

     The scene at last week's ceremony was heartwarming. "In consuming all of this pudding," Jell-O spokesman Bill Cosby said, "you have said you are a state that brings family wherever you go." Even Sen. Gene Davis, who had wanted the state snack to be ice cream, was moved to admit, "Ice cream is not sexy. It's not wiggly and jiggly."

     Asked if a link to a conservative state like Utah might turn off kids partial to shows like MTV's Jackass, Finard demurs. "Our target market is not edgy young kids. Our target market is all of America," she says of the 103-year-old brand. "Jell-O is not a fad."