With recent brand extensions, Condé Nast's Self magazine has focused on helping readers burn calories. Now, it's going to guide them in what they can actually eat.
In the latest example of editorial intersecting with commerce, Self is launching a new line of frozen meals with Benevida Foods CEO and chef Calvin Harris. The Self Healthy Kitchen line is rolling out to 2,900 stores across 37 states, including Kroger, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods' Northwest locations. The partnership was struck by FremantleMedia, which helped Self launch a line of workout gear two years ago.
Self editor in chief Lucy Danziger said that frozen food was a logical move for the Self brand.
“When we started talking about lines we might want to license, there were two avenues I wanted to look at first: gear and food,” she said. “When it came to food, we knew that there were plenty of healthy options for breakfast and lunch, but women like myself are often too busy to shop for groceries and cook a healthy dinner, and that’s the area where they are most likely to go off the rails [with their diets]. A lot of women reading our magazine are working late and come home hungry, and I wanted to have a healthy option in the freezer.”
Self worked with Harris to create recipes and held tastings in sister magazine Bon Appétit's test kitchen (an experience Danziger likened to being a judge on Top Chef). The result was eight health-conscious entrées including Grilled Drunken Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice (340 calories) and Three Cheese Lasagna with Beef and Marinara (280 calories).
Like everything at Condé Nast, the meals aspire to be high-end, and they're priced somewhat higher than other frozen dinners: A single-serving meal averages $4.99.
“I think that the difference between what we’re trying to do and what other people are trying to do is that we’re sourcing the best ingredients we can find anywhere,” Danziger said. “We spared no expense, so the fact that it’s a little more expensive, I think that translates to the taste.”