I can't call this my latest naming project, because I completed the work more than a year ago. But it takes a long time for a new packaged food to make it into supermarkets, so it's only now that I can announce Sauté Your Way, a new freezer-to-stovetop "meal solutions" brand. ("Meal solutions" is what the grocery industry calls this sort of food-in-a-box.) The recipes combine Louisiana Gulf shrimp with three "classic, world-inspired sauce flavors" created by Chef Paul Prudhomme: Key Largo Lemon & Dill Sauce, New Orleans Roasted Garlic Sauce, and Asian Soywabi Sauce.
(Disclaimer: I did not name "soywabi sauce"; it's a blend of soy and wasabi. I didn't write the web copy, either. Nor have I seen or tasted any of the meals--yet.)
Karl Turner, CEO of A La Carte Specialty Foods in Westwego¹, Louisiana, contacted me last year and told me his company was launching a new line with several branding challenges. Unlike most frozen meals sold in supermarkets, A La Carte's new product would not be microwaveable, but rather would be cooked on a stovetop. The name needed to be an umbrella brand that would cover several flavors; in addition, although all of the initial recipes would include shrimp, at some point the company might introduce chicken recipes--so the brand name couldn't refer to any specific ingredient. Chef Paul's participation was important, Karl said--but was it important enough to be highlighted in the brand name, or could it be handled as a graphic element? (One of the company's internally generated--and rejected--names was "Me and the Chef.") The recipes were inspired by international flavors--should the brand say "global"? (Another rejected name: "World of Flavors.")
No single word could satisfy all of the naming objectives, so part of my assignment was to pinpoint those that were most important. Sauté Your Way matches closely with three objectives: It clearly communicates the cooking method--a key differentiator for this product. The French-but-familiar "sauté " echoes the French-but-familiar name of the parent company, A La Carte, and suggests a global, cosmopolitan perspective. (It's particularly apt for a company based in Louisiana, where the French heritage remains vibrant.) "Your Way" tells the customer that the meals can be "personalized," as the web copy puts it: add rice, pasta, or vegetables as you like.
Finally, "Sauté" and "Your Way" have matching meter and rhyme, which aids memorability.
The trademark registration was clear. Nice bonus: SauteYourWay.com was available as a web domain.
So far, Sauté Your Way is sold only in Louisiana, but I understand there are plans for a wider rollout. Bon appétit!
(Consumer caveat: all three Sauté Your Way recipes contain many ingredients whose names end in -ite and -ate.)
¹ Wondering how Westwego got its name? Railroad cars passing through the town used to be marked in chalk with their direction. Most said "west we go."