Performance Kitchen taps healthcare insurers to raise brand awareness, sell food as medicine

Under the leadership of John Yamin, who replaced CEO Christine Day as CEO in early 2021, Luvo became Performance Kitchen to better communicate the functional benefits of food as a viable health management tool worthy of insurance reimbursement.

Through partnerships with several insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid, Yamin explains that Performance Kitchen hopes to show consumers that a nutritious, well-balanced diet can dramatically improve their health and help prevent, manage and sometimes even reverse diet-related chronic illnesses – all without sacrificing taste.

“The message of food as medicine is a great message for us, but I am not sure everybody is ready to understand exactly what that means. Sometimes, people hear it and they think, ‘Oh no, I don’t want it to taste like medicine,’”​ and that fear keeps them from trying healthier options or products promoting functional benefits sold at retail, Yamin said.

Messaging around food as medicine and functional benefits also must compete against other core consumer priorities, like price point and perceived value, and it doesn’t always end up on top. Luvo experienced this when competing in the frozen aisles of mainstream retailers, like Walmart, where most shoppers go not for better-for-you messaging and healthy options, but for value.

“Competition in the frozen aisle is built on promos – five for $10 – and that is not what we tried to do. It’s not that we don’t offer any promos, but that is not the direction we wanted to go,”​ Yamin said, explaining that Luvo – and now Performance Kitchen – offers “nutritionally balanced meals that will help you feel better, which is a different approach and a different message, and one that is not really communicated very well in the traditional frozen aisle where consumers are looking first for value.”

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