(3555)#foodfodie | Farm Rich launches plant-based Garden Inspirations line

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Dive Brief:

  • Farm Rich, a frozen snack and appetizer brand under Rich Products, launched a new line of plant-based foods​ called Garden Inspirations. The frozen line includes appetizers, snacks and meals made with plant-based meats and ingredients.
  • The brand's new plant-based meatballs and sliders will be available in stores this month exclusively at Kroger. The Meatless Meatballs, which have 12 grams of plant-based protein per serving, are made with a blend of soy, pea proteins, garlic and onion. The Plant-Based BBQ Sliders, which are made with pulled porkless soy shreds in a barbeque sauce, have 13 grams of plant-based protein per serving. 
  • Farm Rich is planning to extend the product line at Kroger this summer with two meatless alternative items: Breaded Cauliflower Bites and Breaded Zucchini Sticks.

Dive Insight:

With this new product launch, Farm Rich is hitting on two categories that have been increasingly popular in recent years: plant-based and frozen foods. Studies have shown consumers are looking for convenient, sustainable, healthier and affordable foods. If Farm Rich can offer those attributes with these new products, then it could be a successful launch.  

Farm Rich's recent product innovations tap into popular trends. Last year, the brand launched a line of microwavable single-serve snacks called Time Outs. The debut included products such as pizza and chicken roll-ups catering to consumers looking for easy-to-make products as more shoppers turn to snacks instead of meals.  

Ciera Womack, Farm Rich's senior marketing manager, said in a release that "many are taking steps to limit how much meat we consume and expand our daily diet choices" so this new line gives shoppers more plant-based, microwavable options to choose from at the grocery store. Farm Rich is a brand many consumers recognize in the frozen aisle. It also has a portfolio of products that includes mozzarella sticks and grilled cheese sticks, as well as traditional versions of meatballs and pulled pork.

As consumers crave convenience, sales of frozen foods increased in 2018 and volume grew for the first time in five years​ as millennials started seeking out more less-expensive, easy meal options. That growth continued last year as frozen food sales fueled center store growth​. 

But Farm Rich does have plenty of competition in the frozen, plant-based space already. Alpha Foods, a maker of frozen plant-based meals such as vegan pot pies and meatless burritos, raised $28 million in a funding round this year. Daiya also sells plant-based desserts, pizzas, breakfast burritos, sauces and dressings, with plans to expand even further. In addition, more grocery stores such as Kroger have been launching their own plant-based meals. 

The growing plant-based frozen foods space has attracted big name CPG companies. Sweet Earth, which is owned by Nestlé, offers almost 50 products in more than 10,000 stores, including frozen meals, burritos and breakfast sandwiches. Kellogg's new Incogmeato brand will be offering Chik'n tenders and nuggets in the frozen section.

But as the competition grows, so does the market for these products. Growth for plant-based protein and meat alternatives is projected to increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030, according to investment firm UBS. 

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