Strong Roots expands into frozen meals – one of the few bright spots in plant-based

According to data from Brightfield Group’s Evergi, sales of plant-based frozen meals and bowls climbed 5% in the second quarter of this year, while sales of other plant-based products plummeted, including a staggering 25% drop in plant-based creamers, a 17% drop in both fish and sausage alternatives, a 7% drop in plant-based meat and 6% decline in chicken alternatives. The only other segment that Evergi reported gains in during the period was plant-based bacon, which eked out a meager 1%.

Sam Dennigan, the CEO and founder of Strong Roots, explained at Natural Products Expo East that declining sales of mock-meats and rising interest in simple, whole-food, plant-based frozen entrees reflects a shift in consumer priorities to favor health, sustainability and convenience over novelty, which, he adds, often requires a higher level of education about key ingredients, processing and use that many brands have yet to satisfy.

“The most exciting trend that we’re seeing rising to the surface within the frozen category, but also in other parts of the store, is this return to pure, natural, whole foods – this clean proposition of alternative protein, as opposed to the very, very long list of extenuated ingredients that’s happened over the last three to five years,”​ he said.

Retailers also are focused on this part of the market and asking whether products are sustainable, and whether ingredient decks are short and easy for consumers to understand, he added.

This “fits us really well because our essential brand position is about simplicity: simple real food and convenience, but not doing it with things that are unknown to people from a raw materials perspective,”​ he said.

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