Kraft Heinz And Oprah Winfrey Join For Food Venture

The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) has formed a joint venture with media mogul Oprah Winfrey named Mealtime Stories, LLC. The joint venture will initially manufacture a new line of “ready to eat refrigerated products” for multiple grocery categories. The new range of readymade meals has been described in the announcement as “food that will make real, nutritious products more accessible to everyone.”

Kraft Heinz will develop, manufacture, market and sell the new line in the U.S. What Oprah’s involvement with Mealtime Stories will be remains unclear. The statement announcing the joint venture says that additional details about brand specifics and products will be announced later this year. Winfrey has pledged to donate 10 percent of profits generated from the venture to charities dedicated to eradicating hunger.

Oprah’s stature and marketing prowess make her a great partner for Kraft Heinz. She has shown her interest in the food industry in numerous ways in recent years. In 2014, she inked a deal with coffee giant Starbucks to release Teavana Oprah Chai. Last May, she submitted a trademark request for a line of grocery products under the name Oprah’s Kitchen. Last week, the billionaire TV mogul launched a new cookbook titled Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes For Great Meals And A Better Life.

Oprah has publicly struggled with her weight throughout her career. In 2015, the talk-show host bought a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers company and has claimed that she’s lost 42 pounds with the program. Shares of the company have rallied since her purchase, rising about 18 percent.

Mealtime Stories is not connected to Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers already has its own line of frozen meals and desserts made by Kraft Heinz under a licensing agreement. Heinz owned Weight Watchers for several years before selling the business in 1999 for $735 million. Kraft bought Heinz in 2015, forming the third-largest food and beverage company in North America.

Kraft Heinz’ most successful products include Lunchables, P3, Heinz Yellow Mustard, and Capri-Sun juices. The company reported US adjusted net sales of $4.39 billion for the third quarter of 2016, a 1.2 percent decline on a year over year basis. Oprah is ranked #239 in the latest edition of the FORBES 400. She currently has a net worth of around $2.9 billion.


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