Kids in the Kitchen

Kids’ cooking- and food-themed content continues to proliferate, including in the form of TV shows, social media content, cooking and baking competition shows, and spin-offs of existing children’s IP. Several of these properties have dipped their toes into licensing, consumer products, and promotions, to various degrees. Here’s a sampling of some of the properties and a few of their recent partnerships:

  • Waffles + Mochi, the Netflix series from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, featuring Michelle Obama along with puppets and guest stars, has announced a line of books with Random House Children’s Books and Clarkson Potter. It also teamed with Partnership for a Healthier America for a campaign called Pass the Love with Waffles + Mochi to provide 1 million meal kits for families in need. The chef-driven recipes in the meal kits were made available to the public as well. The show takes the puppet characters, who work in a supermarket, around the world to learn more about ingredients and food.
  • Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ Seuss Chef sub-brand gathers together content and merchandise including cooking videos and social content, Dr. Seuss cookbooks and cooking-themed readers from Random House, and Seuss Chef-branded products including kitchen fabrics from Robert Kaufman. Other categories planned range from tabletop items, cookware, bakeware, and small appliances, to cooking-themed toys and foods.
  • The Tiny Chef is a stop-motion-animated character starring in content on YouTube and Instagram, with a TV show in the works for a 2022 launch on Nickelodeon. The property’s recent promotional partnerships have included the likes of Chelan Fresh’s RockIt apple brand and Williams Sonoma’s Tools for Change fundraiser, where the character served as one of the celebrities designing a spatula and apron to benefit No Kid Hungry. Tiny Chef also has a children’s book with Razorbill.
  • Global cooking channel Chefclub’s Chefclub Kids brand most recently signed Upyaa for toys and games in France, and offered a full collection of children’s products that debuted in late 2020 on the print-on-demand platform Spreadshirt. It also partnered with Peppa Pig for two recipes that were distributed on social media and in the Peppa Pig magazine.
  • Banijay’s Masterchef Junior, one of the pioneers in this space, has lately signed Abacus Brands for STEM-focused virtual-reality cooking kits. It also has a toy line with Jazwares, which came to the toy maker through its acquisition of Wicked Cool; the latter secured the license in 2015. Some products tied to the parent Masterchef brand, such as Wilder Games’ family cooking game, also focus on kids.
  • Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck is a short segment that has run within Sesame Street since late 2017. It stars Cookie Monster and a new character, Gonger, and focuses on where the ingredients in favorite recipes come from. Several existing Sesame Street licensees make Cookie Monsters’ Foodie Truck products, including Playskool, Mega Bloks, Lerner, Random House, and Gund.
  • Duff’s Happy Fun Bake Time launched on streaming channel Discovery+ this spring. Featuring celebrity baker Duff Goldman and a group of Jim Henson-created puppets, including a sloth and a robot, the show teaches food science and cooking fundamentals. A limited-edition t-shirt based on the show was available through Goldman’s Baltimore bakery, Charm City Cakes. The property was also the focus of a sweepstakes with Popsugar and Box’d, in which 200 winners received a curated box of baking accessories. The boxes included a mix of items such as a Unicorn Brownie Baking Kit, measuring cups, silicone baking cups and spatulas, and youth aprons.
  • In the newest iteration of Wildbrain CPLG’s Strawberry Shortcake, centered on a series of 40 four-minute YouTube episodes (with 40 more in the works) called Berry in the Big City, Strawberry and her friends launch a food truck for baked goods. The show is about typical Strawberry themes like friendship and not about cooking per se, but has plenty of food-themed content. A baking-themed game is launching within Roblox, and licensees include several marketers of fresh fruit and other foods, among other products.

Other initiatives tied to licensed IP have also touched on kids’ cooking and baking, from a Candy Land baking competition show on the Food Network, based on the Hasbro game, to Martha Stewart’s recent agreement with Guidecraft for a kitchen helper (a step stool designed to allow young children to help in the kitchen), to a range of cookbooks tied to kids’ IP, cooking-themed and otherwise.

A heads-up that Raugust Communications’ monthly e-newsletter comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The Licensing Topic of the Month is a look at the initiatives that have been put into motion to create a more diverse consumer products landscape in the 16 months since the killing of George Floyd, while the Datapoint research spotlight focuses on licensing deals across various alcoholic beverage categories. If you do not yet subscribe to this free publication, sign up here.

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