Veg-O-Matic: On the cutting edge again?

October 13, 1990|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Evening Sun Staff

The Veg-O-Matic lives! And it may be slicing and dicing again, enticing a new generation of cooks to discover its virtues.

The Veg-0-Matic has not been made since 1975. Its original manufacturer was Popeil Bros. of Chicago, which was sold in 1979.

Now, however, K-Tel International Inc. of Plymouth, Minn., has acquired the rights to the Veg-O-Matic name and the product, and says it will re-introduce it at the International Housewares Exposition in Chicago in January, according to Dan Kelly, K-Tel's director of sales and marketing.

The Veg-O-Matic of 1991 will be the same as that of the previous generation -- what is now being called "the earliest hand-operated food processor." Even its price will be similar, Kelly says. It sold for $19.95 in 1975 and will be priced between $19.95 and $29.95 this time around.

K-Tel first showed off the Veg-O-Matic at last year's housewares show. Since then, "every major retailer in the United States has contacted us and wants that product," making it, he claims, "the most sought-after kitchen gadget in the U.S. right now."

He says the revived Veg-O-Matic will be successful because many consumers have grown disenchanted with larger food processors that are difficult to clean and store and because it is a product with "an extra-high comfort level."

Although during the last couple of decades the Veg-O-Matic has been the subject of countless jokes and even a "Saturday Night Live" routine, Kelly says the laughter stems more from "how the product was marketed" than from the quality of the appliance. Because television advertising was relatively inexpensive in the 1960s and '70s, pitchmen were slicing and dicing all over the tube, making Veg-O-Matic indeed a household word.

More than 12 million of the appliances were sold between the late 1960s and 1975, Kelly says.

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