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Supermarket Superstar: New reality show aims to bring food innovation to pop culture

By Stephen DANIELLS , 09-Jul-2013
Last updated on 30-Oct-2013 at 16:27 GMT2013-10-30T16:27:47Z

Chris Cornyn, founder of food and beverage marketing agency DINE
Chris Cornyn, founder of food and beverage marketing agency DINE

Food innovation, from concept to consumer brand, will soon be the focus of a new television show, with ‘Supermarket Superstar’ giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for a spot on supermarket shelves.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA, Chris Cornyn, branding guru and judge on the new Lifetime show, explained that, in the food industry, nine out of ten new food products fail. “You’ll have more success on a roulette wheel in Vegas than food. Most people don’t understand that the success rate is very, very small.”

“Just because your cousin or family like your idea or recipe doesn’t mean that it will succeed in America. We are preparing these entrepreneurs for these realities.”

Cornyn is the founder of food and beverage marketing agency DINE and has worked with brands like Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Starbucks, Mrs. Fields Cookies, amongst others. 

Showing the food innovation process

The show is being brought to the small screen by Eli Holzman, the same man behind shows such as Undercover Boss. Holzman started his own food company (QB Treats, LLC, which markets frozen novelties), and was convinced that America would be “fascinated to see the food innovation process”, said Cornyn.

Food Vision 2014

Chris Cornyn will be speaking about the route from food concept to onshelf success: The holistic route to new product marketing, at Food Vision , an event organised by the publishers of FoodNavigator. 
Click here to find out more about Food Vision , taking place in Cannes, France in April 2014.

The show is hosted by Stacy Keibler, with celebrity chef Michael Chiarello, and Debbie Fields from Mrs Fields Bakeries joining Cornyn on the judging panel.

The show will give aspiring food entrepreneurs the chance to get their products on the shelves of supermarket giant A&P. 

The show “built a very real replication of how big and small food companies build a food product,” said Cornyn.

Category specific

Each episode focuses on a different food category, from baked goods, to sauces and ethnic foods, with three entrepreneurs competing to be the one left standing at the end of the show. ConAgra was involved in the first show (bakery products).

The judges are there to not only judge and help a buyer from A&P select the winner, but also to mentor the entrepreneurs along the way on how to avoid the pitfalls, said Cornyn.

“We’re bringing food innovation to pop culture,” he added.


In addition to looking for the next big thing, Cornyn has been keeping a close eye on emerging trends, and said the recent Fancy Food Show in New York City showed that, “convenience is paramount. Snacking, and on the go snacking in particular, is also big. Lastly, healthy or a health halo is a key trend.”

Indulgence is also still very important, he added.

Cornyn has also been keeping an eye out for what he calls ‘sleeping categories’. Recent examples have been potato chips, and the success of popchips in particular. “Do we really need another chip product? Probably not but look how successful this has been. Also, Greek yoghurt and Chobani – now everyone is slapping ‘Greek’ on their products.”

So what are the next sleeping categories to keep an eye on? “Pickle is one,” he said. “There is a new take on the pickle, pitching it at a culinary level. Another is popcorn – I’ve seen attempts to elevate this.

“Also ‘the kit’ is gaining momentum, giving the consumers the illusion of cooking without really cooking – the bread making kit, the kambucha kit, the beer kit.”

To view a trailer for Supermarket Superstars, please click here

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