Can Kraft go even further beyond the bagel?

I read Brandweek’s article “Kraft goes beyond the bagel” this morning and was very impressed by Kraft’s work to make cream cheese relevant beyond the morning day-part.  I found this article particularly intriguing, because as  30-something female morning cream cheese consumer, I had already noticed the new advertisements that show Philadelphia cream cheese as afternoon snack as opposed to a morning bagel topping, and thought “Well that is a good idea.  I’ll keep that in mind for a tasty snack.”   I guess I was a little slow to actually think about Kraft’s new strategy to increase product usage when I saw the new commercials.

Putting that aside, the Brandweek article made me think about a way that Kraft could further increase usage, and enter into additional adjacent categories.  What if Kraft decided to go beyond spreads and condiments with cream cheese, and actually start to position itself against other “cracker” toppings — such as fine cheeses, meats, tapenades, etc?  Now would be the time to give it a try — everyone is looking to save a few pennies here or there.  So instead of spending $5 or more on third of a pound of Blue Stilton cheese, people might seriously consider purchasing some Philadelphia Cream cheese that is priced much lower, and using it as a base for a “like homemade” premium cracker topping.  All Kraft would have to do would be to show this “premium occasion” usage, and then provide some easy recipes to transform the cream cheese from a “snack” topping, to a more premium appetizer topping. 

I am sure that this isn’t a new idea to the folks at Kraft, and I admit that the premium appetizer occasion probably doesn’t drive a whole lot more frequency.  However, it just strikes me that it would be an easy way to further extend the usages of the product, with a relatively small investment (adding one more product/situation shot into a commercial and then updating a recipe on package or on the website).   And as I said above, now is the perfect time to do it.  People would be very receptive to the message, and since it is predicted that people might not go back to their previous spending habits once the economy recovers, this could get cream cheese in the hands of many, and then it might stay part of their routine for many years to come.

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