Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remarketing Borscht

Our farmers at Picadilly braved 18 inches of snow to bring us "borscht in a box" last week: beets, turnips, carrots, onions, cabbage, and potatoes.

We made borscht last year to use up our beets and cabbage and root vegetables, so I was pretty comfortable winging it as "vegetable soup that happens to contain beets and maybe is partially pureed" (how I make soup) this time.

But still, announcing "borscht" made the potluck guests uneasy. Housemates hovered in the kitchen to supervise what went into the pot. Some declared, bravely, their determination to try it. Another brought vodka.

We'd accumulated some beets and quite a bit of cabbage from previous weeks, so we made, um, sort of a lot. (Cf. the Canadian idiom "Cheap like borscht.")

Having a lot of unpopular magenta soup is not a plight unique to our refrigerator. In the Wall Street Journal, the borscht-making Gold family brainstorms new ways to sell their trademark project:
"It needs a totally new look to it," Steven Gold declares. "A sexy look." He advocates taking the word "borscht" out of the equation altogether. Call the product "Beet Smoothie," he suggests. "Power Beet Juice," offers Howard Gold.
And, in response, some (apparently earnest) suggestions on "making borscht cool again":
My key suggestion is to target babies and toddlers with a baby food (e.g. steamed and pureed beats) and a fun children’s borscht. This could be a very strategic move that makes beets and borscht a normal (and fun) part of childhood ... To target a very different audience than the Whole Foods crowd, I could imagine trying to get Borscht the official drink of an ultimate fighter or WWE wrestler. 
Jack, however, discovered the best marketing strategy for leftover borscht: combine it with cheese sauce.

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