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Colgate Beef Lasagna: Failed frozen dinner from the 80s

    colgate beef lasagna

    From the what were they thinking department? Did you know Colgate’s dental care brand made a brief foray into frozen foods in the 1980s? They unloaded onto the market, Colgate Beef Lasagna.

    In 1982, Colgate attempted to broaden its product line by introducing Colgate Kitchen Entrees. The company believed that since its oral hygiene products were successful, it could capitalize on its brand recognition and sell pre-made meals. The idea was that if consumers trusted the Colgate brand, they would be willing to purchase different products under that same brand. This way, customers could enjoy Colgate’s meals and then use their toothpaste for oral hygiene. Consumers did that exactly, they hated the taste. They brushed that product right out of the frozen aisle section. Colgate wants you to forget the whole fiasco, it was like it never happened. In this is one incident the company does not want to thaw out. They want Colgate Kitchen Entrees to stay frozen in the recesses of time.

    Initially, Colgate Kitchen Entrees were marketed as frozen meals for busy working mothers and college students who needed a quick and healthy alternative to cook. They were a convenient option that didn’t interfere with their busy schedules and a great addition to the existing frozen dinner options from Banquet and Swanson.

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    Colgate Kitchen Entrees failed due to manufacturing defects and a complicated preparation process that consumers found time-consuming. This led to negative feedback and declining sales. In addition, the manufacturing process lacked quality control, resulting in inconsistencies in the taste and appearance of the meals.

    According to Television Age Magazine in 1996. There, you’ll find a profile of the Colgate-Palmolive Company mentioning George Henry Lesch. In 1961, Lesch became the new chairman and the president of the company, and he aggressively sought new ways to expand the brand’s reach. According to the article, this included, “A line of dried chicken and crabmeat entrees under a Colgate Kitchen label… introduced and quickly withdrawn. An apple chip called Snapples has been tested off-and-on over a two-year period, and one or two other food items are at various stages.”

    The lonely Colgate Lasagna has resonated in the imagination of some throughout the years as the poster child of the failed experiment by Colgate. Who knows what could have happened if it succeeded. Might we have seen a retaliatory product such as Swanson Toothpaste?

    Inspired from: Museum of Failure is a collection of failed products and services from around the world. The majority of all innovation projects fail and the museum showcases these failures to provide visitors with a fascinating learning experience. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation.