New Food Product Spotlight: Oscar Mayer Deli Creations

While no healthier than fast food, Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Complete Sandwiches delighted our taste testers with components and convenience in a hot package.

By Hollis Ashman, Jacqueline Beckley and Jennifer Maca, Consumer Understanding Editors

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The sandwich components are listed to the left of the clear window: Oscar Mayer shaved cured roast beef, Kraft 2% Milk Reduced Fat Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Kraft Steakhouse Sauce, Kraft Light Mayonnaise and country white sub roll. One side panel shows all five available varieties, while the other side panel shows a loaf of bread, apparently freshly baked and steaming hot, on a rustic cutting board with the statement “fresh baked taste in 60 seconds.”

Instructions for assembling the sandwich are on the bottom of the box. The sandwich components are “individually wrapped for freshness.” The cheese, meat and condiments are branded. Since the container for the meat is opaque, the consumer can’t see what is inside until the top is peeled off to reveal fairly rare looking shaved meat slices.

After removing all components, the consumer is directed to place the sub roll on the included microwaveable paper tray. “Build the sandwich however you like, using the meat, cheese and sauce”, and then microwave for 50-60 seconds. Using both of the provided condiments (steak sauce and mayo) on the sandwich together was thought to be unusual by some tasters, as well as putting mayo in the microwave.

After microwaving, the bread had a strong, pleasantly yeasty, freshly baked aroma that was liked by most. All were surprised at the softness of the bread after microwaving — toughness was expected. The flavor of the meat reminded some of corned beef rather than steak, which isn’t surprising since the meat is cured.

All were pleased that the box contained every component needed to create the sandwich, including the microwaveable tray — no searching for paper plate or settling for a paper towel in the microwave line at work. The sandwich was just the right size — not too much food and not too little — and was judged to be “much better than I thought a prepackaged build-your-own sandwich would be.”

Does the product deliver?

Oscar Mayer has always stood for the familiar and the kid-friendly: hot dogs, cold cuts and bacon. Deli Creations promises “the hot melty moment you deserve … in a microwave minute” all “for the love of lunch” with a fresh-baked taste.

Aromatic warm bread plus warm ingredients elevate a plain, familiar sandwich to special. This product makes cuisine-weary consumers happy with a warm, aromatic sandwich that delivers on filling you up. Cheese melted on top adds to the craveablity of the sandwich.

How to make the idea bigger: At 450 calories, 1,420mg of sodium (59 percent of the RDA) and 140 calories from fat, this product is comparable to eating a salty Quarter Pounder and Cheese. While this may taste healthy, it is not healthier than fast food. Since the consumer can choose not to add the cheese and sauces, letting the consumer know the trade-offs they are making while “creating” would be a way to give choices to health-conscious consumers.

While 3g of fiber is good, it is not a lot to deliver satiety. Most of the filling of the meal comes from the warmth, aroma and the chewing experience. This could be enhanced with more fiber, but there is a trade off on delivery of the soft sub bun.

Market potential: Good. With a little help from its Fast Franks microwave packaging technology, Kraft may have finally figured out how to bring adults into the Lunchables mindset. As long as sodium isn’t a concern, this product could fit into what many would consider a healthy diet. It’s faster than going out to the sandwich shop, but is not a healtheir alternative to traditional fast food if you consume everything in the box.

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