Paula Deen launches food company, aims at Target, Wal-Mart

Paula Deen
Paula Deen
(Carlo Allegri / Associated Press)

Paula Deen may be bringing more of her butter-drenched recipes to supermarkets and retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and Kroger with the creation of her new Paula Deen Foods company.

Think classic Deen creations “as well as lighter versions,” according to a news release this week about the launch. The products are expected to hit shelves this fall.

The Georgia-based celebrity chef is pairing up with Buffalo, N.Y.-based Nanco Group, which launched and sold Tops Friendly Markets and Wilson Farms Stores under the ownership of the Nanula family, to develop products and run quality control.

Terms of the deal, which will set up Paula Deen Foods in Savannah, were not disclosed.


Instead of a hands-off licensing arrangement, Deen will be heavily involved in her partnership with Nanco, according to the Buffalo News.

“This isn’t Paula just signing off on something,” said Steven Nanula, president of Paula Deen Foods. “This is Paula really getting into it and rolling up her sleeves along with her team.”

Deen is both adored and despised -- the latter if it’s Anthony Bourdain -- for her heavy Southern cooking. Earlier this year, she announced that she has Type 2 diabetes and, in a controversial decision, became a spokeswoman for a pharmaceutical company making diabetes medication.

But her gambits tend to be lucrative.


The chef-TV personality-businesswoman was recently nominated for an Emmy for her role hosting “Paula’s Best Dishes” on Food Network. She runs Savannah restaurant The Lady & Sons and recently launched an eatery in Atlantic City, N.J. Eight million of her cookbooks have been sold.

At Target, customers can already shell out $149.99 for the Paula Deen 18-piece cookware set or $6.99 for the Paula Deen melamine slotted turner. Deen also has a line of home products and furniture sold at retailers such asMacy’s.

Her website refers to her as “an American icon.”

Deen is also keeping busy tackling a lawsuit from a former employee of Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, a restaurant she co-owned in Savannah. The suit accuses Deen of condoning an atmosphere of sexual harassment and racism in her businesses.


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