This past September 15-16, 2011 I headed to New York City for a Ragu & Unilever Brand Immersion Day. The first day we spent time at dinner and getting to know each other. The second day was the day of fun and amazement as we entered the kitchen at Unilever and learned more about the Ragu brand that myself and many other bloggers have been a part of for the last few months. Ragu & Unilever did an amazing job of showing us what happens from farming as a crop to on the shelf in your local store. We enjoyed many of the recipes that can be found on Ragu’s website! I loved all of them and look forward to making many of them in the future for my family. Here’s some pictures, a video and more information from the time I spent in New York and New Jersey with Ragu and Unilever.
During the Unilever presentation, the first person that spoke was Nivi Chakravorty. She explained to us how the Moms The Word on Dinner campaign evolved and what Ragu was looking for in the whole process. They gathered 20 different topics that all revolve around dinner time. Twenty topics that revolve around dinner and dinner dilemmas. The topics came up based on the keywords searched by mms everyday and were over 300K searches a month on these topics.
Scott Cutler was the next speaker and he works with consumer and market insights. He works on marketing the product and finding the best areas for the product to be launched and marketed. It’s all a very interesting process and certainly far more then we think about when we head to the store and grab a jar of that Ragu Sauce!
Renee Parriott and Sheila Winship spoke to us next. The explained how the recipes come along. It starts with an idea and they create it into a recipe. They follow the Gold Standard when it comes to their recipes. They go to culinary schools and more to to get all the recipes, they bring them back to Unilever chefs where perfects the recipes and makes changes for what they believe is the perfect sauce. This then goes all the way back to the beginning steps and they sometimes have to start all over to get the perfect recipe.
Next we spoke to Gina Ruskie, who is a registered dietician that works directly with Unilever and Ragu. Gina focuses on sodium reduction strategies and initiatives in the savory category of foods including Ragu. They look at the trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugars. In the Original Ragu sauce contained 780mg of sodium. In 2005 they lowered that sodium amount to 580mg without effecting the flavor of the sauce. It didn’t stop there because in 2009 they adjusted things again and brought the sodium level down to 480mg, again keeping flavor. It went on further into 2010 where it remained at the 480mg of sodium, but they add 2 servings of vegetables to each serving of Ragu! This was a concern mothers/parents had. Going forward they are looking to bring that 480mg down even further, while keeping the 2 servings of vegetables and keeping the supreme flavor that they have always had.
Here’s some interesting information shared by Ragu & Unilver:
In case you’ve wondered about how Ragu has changed and evolved (because it truly has) and gotten to the 2 servings of vegetables in every serving, here’s a wonderful timeline:
I learned so much as the Ragu Immersion. There is no way that someone could have explained how the process went and how much work went into getting something so wholesome into a jar that helped not only me, but millions of other families at dinner time each and every night. Here’s a video I wanted to share from the day (this video was taken by Unilever and is property of them):
Please head over to the Ragu Facebook page and click on the “Moms The Word On Dinner” Tab to check out bios from all the amazing Ragu Brand Ambassadors and join in the dinnertime discussions! For more information on the day, please read my post regarding this event!
Disclosure: This event occured in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the Ragu Moms the Word on Dinner Program. Visit www.facebook.com/ragusauce to join the conversation!
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