Clash of the Kitchen Titans

Rather than just competing on price, this year Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have called on some celebrity friends to win over customers. But their choice of celebrity says that these two chains are not actually competing for the same people to visit their shops.

Jamie and Heston

Jamie Oliver vs. Heston Blumenthal. The kitchen rivalry is no longer between Woolworths and Coles, it is between these two culinary heavyweights.

Taking advantage of these high profile celebrities has formed a significant amount of these two companies’ advertising budgets this year. Jamie Oliver has appeared on our televisions, social media, YouTube and in store promotions to encourage shoppers into his simple, easy and healthy(er) dinner options. And now Coles have launched a new website dedicated to the Heston range that has just hit their shelves. Check it out here: www.hestonforcoles.com.au/

But one thing strikes me as odd. These two supermarkets, who compete for largely the same group of weekly shoppers, are using celebrities which appeal to markedly different values.

Heston Blumenthal is well-known as a connoisseur of the weird and wonderful cooking. Food preparation which is weird, zany, time-consuming and extravagant while providing a sensory overload within a dining experience. Let’s not forget that he is the man behind Meat Fruit – perfectly appealing fruit shaped and coloured balls of pâté.

On the other hand, Jamie Oliver is focussed on celebrating the time-precious, health-conscious, budget-friendly and varyingly-skilled home cook. With books and television shows titled Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, Jamie’s Ministry of Food and Jamie’s Money Saving Meals, this chef firmly entrenched himself within the domain of home cooking.

Two different chefs for two different target markets.

Which one do you think best represents the values of the average Australian shopper? Despite being big fans of Masterchef, I doubt that the average shopper is looking for fine-dining every night of the week.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Heston Blumenthal Christmas pudding with the hidden orange but it isn’t exactly everyday food. I would think that the average Australian cook is more likely to fall into line with the Jamie Oliver School of Cooking which is fast, quick, easy and healthy meals.

I could well be wrong though. People may be out there right now making Croquembouches in their own kitchens or foraging around the tree roots for a bit of extra truffle to enhance the flavour of their latest culinary creation.

I am certainly open to being proven wrong – Heston’s new range at Coles appears much simpler than the creations we see on television, but would the brand of extravagant cooking be enough to entice people into leaving their local Woolworths for the local Coles?

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