Don’t be fooled by that box that you got, it’s just food from (food from) Jenny on the block. Kinda. Tiller & Hatch Supply Co., which is “backed” by Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, announced today the launch of its new line of frozen meals, which will be available nationwide online and in-stores at Walmart.
While the bling-y nature of its celebrity backers may be attention-grabbing, what caught our eye how Tiller & Hatch’s meals actually work. The company offers a number of different menus including Farfalle with Marinara and Ground Turkey, Coconut Chicken Stew with Vegetables and Rice, and Santa Fe Style Pasta with Chicken Breast. All are shipped frozen and meant to be re-heated in an electric pressure cooker.
While they don’t mention the brand specifically, it seems like an obvious play to reach Instant Pot’s massive installed base. Given that device’s rabid audience, Tiller & Hatch’s approach isn’t a dumb idea. Whether or not it’s enough to sustain an entire business though, is another matter altogether.
Tiller & Hatch isn’t the only meal service targeting pressure cookers. Up in Canada, Presto has been selling frozen meals for pressure cookers over the past year, though they sell their food for $10 a serving. Tiller & Hatch says its meals are roughly $4 a serving.
In addition to the pressure cooker angle, Tiller & Hatch’s go-to market also highlights how frozen food continues to experience its renaissance. No longer just aluminum trays of Salisbury steak and peas, frozen food sales are up two percent over the past decade thanks to millennials’ love of convenience and companies like AquaStar, Buttermilk and Daily Harvest re-thinking what goes into frozen fare.
Then there is the celebrity angle of J-Lo and A-Rod, though we don’t know how involved they even are with Tiller & Hatch. A press announcement sent to The Spoon only says that they have “backed” the service, but we don’t know what that means exactly, and neither celebrity name appears on the Tiller & Hatch website. We reached out to Tiller & Hatch for clarification, and will update accordingly. UPDATE: A spokesperson for Tiller & Hatch emailed to tell us that Lopez and Rodriguez are Co-Founders of Tiller & Hatch. Even so, celebrity endorsement doesn’t always equal success in the packaged meal game. Blue Apron launched a line of Chrissy Tiegen meal kits, and that wasn’t enough to stop the company’s steady decline.
Is J-Lo just a, err, hustler with Tiller & Hatch? Probably not, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the company to see if its pressure cooker approach is enough to win over customers.