Conagra is answering the growing demand for plant-based food by expanding its Gardein line of meat-free dishes, including new items that feature pea and wheat protein. In the past, meat substitutes were mostly tailored to vegans and vegetarians. Now, however, more people are seeking a flexitarian diet due to a variety of dietary needs and lifestyle preferences, including animal welfare, health and sustainability concerns, the company explained.
"Fifty-two percent of households purchase plant-based foods, and more than 60% are trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet yet have concerns that they'll sacrifice taste or texture," said Tara Rozalowsky, vice president and general manager at Conagra Brands. "Gardein's strength has always been that we offer a wide variety of delicious, plant-based meat alternatives for chicken, beef, pork, fish and seafood. Gardein offers home cooks and chefs alike a great way to make any dish plant based."
Gardein's latest innovations provide convenient, great-tasting plant-based options for any snack or meal, from breakfast through dinner, the company said. New items are available in retailers this summer and include:
- Chick'n Wings, Tenders and Nuggets – Gardein is taking plant-based snacking to a new level with the launch of meat alternatives that contain a proprietary blend of pea and wheat protein. Chicken is the fastest-growing protein type in meat alternatives, growing 26% since February 2019.
- Breakfast Bowls – Gardein's convenient breakfast offerings have expanded with two new on-trend items: the Shakshuka Breakfast Bowl and the Saus'age Benny Breakfast Bowl, a vegan version of eggs Benedict.
- Skillet Meals – Gardein has launched two new skillet meal flavors that are certified vegan: Porkless Thai Curry and Lambless Vindaloo. These flavorful meals offer a meat-free version of popular ethnic dishes with plant-based proteins, crisp vegetables, whole grains and flavorful sauces.
- Breakfast Saus'age – Gardein has launched two plant-based breakfast sausage patties: maple-flavored and spicy. They have 6 g of protein per serving and 75% less fat than traditional pork sausage.
- Italian Saus'age Patties – These sliced sausage patties contain 10 g of protein per serving.
- Entrée Bowls for One – These all-in-one bowl meals come in four new flavors: the Orange Beefless Bowl, Teriyaki Chick'n Bowl, Chick'n Fajita Bowl and Italian Saus'age and Pasta Bowl. Each bowl has 13-16 g of protein and fewer than 350 calories.
Conagra said Gardein, founded in 2003, has seen tremendous growth in the past few years as consumer demand for plant-based meat alternatives has increased. The brand's compound annual growth rate has increased 34% since 2012. Gardein offers a vast menu of vegan, plant-based, meatless options across categories that are Non-GMO Project Verified.