McCormick partners with Tasty on millennial-friendly spice blends

The brand has launched the line based on insights from BuzzFeed's food vertical.


McCormick has teamed up with Tasty, a BuzzFeed media property, to bring to market a co-branded line of spice blends in a bid to reach millennial foodies.

The companies launched Tasty spice blends by Club House, a line of five spice blends, on Amazon and McCormick’s own website on March 22, with a planned retail roll out in Metro, Sobeys, Loblaws, Walmart and Save on Foods stores beginning in June.

Under the terms of the agreement, BuzzFeed will receive a licensing fee for each item sold, according to AdExchanger. (McCormick declined to comment on the specifics of the licensing partnership.)

The partnership enables McCormick, a 130-year-old seasoning manufacturer, to extend the reach of its Club House brand with millennial audiences through Tasty, while expanding the latter’s reputation as a diversified culinary company, says Anthony Palmer, senior director of global consumer strategy at McCormick. (Tasty has already entered the food accessories space with items such as cookware, but has never previously launched a global food product).

The product line includes the Fiery, Zesty, Savory, Jazzy and Hearty spice blends. While the taste profiles were developed by McCormick, they are based on consumer data gleaned from Tasty’s massive online following.

Tasty’s influence can be found in the packaging and naming of the products as well.  The pack’s vibrant colours and playful fonts speak to the younger target and are meant to contrast with how most brands present themselves on shelf, according to Palmer. Meanwhile, the Club House logo is meant to give the product more “authenticity and trust.”

Leveraging its own area of expertise, McCormick is taking greater responsibility of how the products are marketed in-store. The Tasty spice blends will sit within the Club House fixture and be promoted along Club House’s other products, according to Palmer.

McCormick worked with U.K. agency Earn on the product launch, as well as the Canadian team at graphic design agency Invok, which also has an office in New York.

Tasty-McCormick2The partnership will enable McCormick to better leverage the customer data available through online channels, according to Palmer. “DTC and ecommerce are fast-growing channels, so we want to make sure that we have a strong, unique presence there.”

However, for now, the company’s website prompts customers to purchase through Amazon, ultimately giving the e-commerce giant control of some of the data. Palmer was unable to specify what data it will have access to through Amazon.

Palmer notes it’s the first time that McCormick has developed a strategic partnership “bringing together two powerhouses in cooking.”

“When we look at millennials, they’re wanting to learn and they want to be inspired about food and cooking,” he says. Unlike older generations who have historically taken cooking inspiration from recipe books, younger audiences have been influenced by foodie culture, a multitude of cooking shows and their encounters with exotic flavours through travel. “There’s an inherent interest in both flavour and cooking food” among the segment. “Hence, reaching this age group, getting engaged with them, it’s really important.”

In addition to the product launch, the deal sees McCormick become the official spice of Tasty, which will use Club House spices across all its content on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, within BuzzFeed newsletters, gift guides and other social media promotions.