MashtagsFrom The Independent in the UK:

‘There was a simpler time, a time when potato snacks were shaped like smiley faces, leaving only an aftertaste of faint nostalgia and plastic.

‘But those days are gone, now Birdseye are producing potato hashtags and potato @ symbols and calling them Mashtags.

‘”The addition of Mashtags to our food range is an exciting development for Birds Eye. Social media is all about conversation and we’re confident Mashtags will resonate across various groups of people,” said Pete Johnson, senior brand manager at Birds Eye.

‘Resonate. With an oven-baked potato product.

‘He continues: “We’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and inspire consumers and hope that Mashtags will get people talking around the table and help to make mealtimes more enjoyable.”

‘Billed as ‘#NEW’ and ‘#Tasty’, Mashtags will be available in Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and more from March.’

The launch of Mashtags looks like a fairly obvious attempt by Birds Eye to ride the social media Zeitgeist, and I despair for anybody who needs shaped mashed potato to be their inspiration. However, one question struck me straightaway; Where is Mashtags’ target audience?

Typically, specially shaped “value added” food is aimed at those who have to be persuaded to eat via the promise of food shaped like something they know. (Dinosaurs, letters of alphabet). Typically these people are five years old and under.

Typically you have to be thirteen years old to have a social media account.

So, either Birds Eye is targeting Mashtags at the typical novelty food audience, none of whom should understand hashtags or any of the other trappings of social media, or the company believes there is a market for people over thirteen years old who need their mashed potato in novelty shapes before they will eat it.

I wonder how Birds Eye sees it?