Yellowstone and Supermarket Shelves

The Lempert Report
August 01, 2023

On today’s Bullseye – have you watched Yellowstone yet? The award-winning series, now in its 5th season, set in 1923, follows the conflicts along the shared borders of the Yellowstone Cattle Ranch, the Broken Rock Indian Reservation, Yellowstone National Park and of course land developers. Kevin Costner plays John Dutton – the leader of the family that owns the largest ranch in Montana – the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.  Due to the writers and SAG-AFTRA strike, the filming has been put on hold – but not so much for the branding. FoodStory Brands and Paramount Consumer Products have joined forces to produce the Yellowstone line of elevated Western cuisine which they say will embody the rustic authentic experience of the Yellowstone universe.

There has been a long history of TV shows and celebs that have tried to get their brand on supermarkets shelves, some have made it – like the Flintstones and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course Jimmy Dean in the western-like world of sausages and breakfast foods, Most of the time, the TV or movie brands issued limited editions of foods – especially breakfast cereals. But for the most part most have failed. Remember Three’s Company’s Suzanne Sommers’ do-it-yourself meal prep franchise back in 2006?Or Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania fast food restaurant? Or who could forget Trump Steaks – with the tagline of “The World’s Greatest Steaks” which was discontinued after just 2 months of being on the shelf. Then there was Hanna Montana brand of Red Cherries. Even Cosmopolitan magazine gave it a try back in 1999 with their brand of Cosmopolitan Yogurt.

Having a food brand isn’t easy by any means; but with the rash of celebrities getting into the wine and distilled spirits business – and enjoying major success – the likes of Paramount seems to want in on the big bucks. But I think they are making a mistake. Their cowboy cuisine is going to span the aisles across multiple categories – coffee pods and ground coffee are already on Kroger’s shelves. Angus beef chili – with or without beans and the Yellowstone rubs and seasonings can be found at Walmart as well as some HEB, Jewel-Osco, Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger stores. What’s to come? Angus beef sticks, American Wagyu beef sticks, Hunter’s sausage, original and bacon breakfast sausage links and thick cut bacon will be lining the shelves this fall. The questions are if these products can start a cowboy cuisine trend, and if they will be around in a year? FoodStory Brands says that Yellowstone has the potential to be the first entertainment property to transcend TV and become a major cross-category food and beverage brand for years to come. They have certainly gained major retail distribution, but as we have seen time and time again – they question is whether shoppers will buy the products. Bing Crosby had vanilla ice cream, Phyliss Diller had chili and Frank Sinatra had pasta sauce.