- Albertsons has added 55 new products to its own brands frozen entrees, including organic plant-based meals and premium high-protein power bowls, according to a company press release.
- Albertsons worked with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) to develop new options for its O Organics line, which bear the association’s Certified Plant Based seal.
- The new plant-based frozen meals include items such as a chickpea curry and spinach rice bowl and an edamame teriyaki vegetable rice bowl. The company has also added plant-based power burgers, plant-based breakfast patties and plant-based crumbles.
Albertsons is capitalizing on the major sales growth for plant-based food products, which has climbed 31% since 2017 to reach $4.5 billion in segment-wide value, according to PBFA. It has also determined that 39% of consumers are trying to eat more vegetables while 29% are adopting a flexitarian approach to eating, only consuming meat occasionally, according to the release.
This could explain why the retailer is placing bets on both plant-based and meat-centric frozen food dishes. Although it is adding plant-based options to its frozen lineup, it’s also expanding its lineup of meat-based meals with its Signature Select frozen bowls and breakfast items. These meals are focused on premium proteins and global cuisines, with dishes including a beef bulgogi rice bowl and a mixed greens chicken and quinoa power bowl.
The frozen food aisle may be undergoing a reawakening, according to a report from the Food Marketing Institute and the American Frozen Food Institute. The segment saw 2.6% dollar growth in 2018, ahead of center store's growth rate in the same metric. Over 99% of shoppers buy at least some frozen food items, showing high household penetration, but only one-third of shoppers consume a frozen food item once every three weeks, the report said.
Part of the sluggish consumption could be due to some consumers’ perception that frozen food is inferior to fresh food options, according to the report, with 80% of shoppers describing frozen foods as a backup option.
Albertsons is not the only retailer adding plant-based fare to its private label offerings. Kroger recently launched a more extensive collection of plant-based items for its Simply Truth line featuring meatless burgers, sausage and deli meat substitutes as well as plant-based cookie dough, pasta sauces and more. Similar to Albertsons, Kroger is targeting flexitarians with these new items, Gil Phipps, Kroger's vice president of Our Brands, said during a presentation at the recent Good Food Conference in San Francisco.
When it comes to private label, consumers seem to prefer the offerings compared to name brand products, according to a report by Daymon, with half of consumers shopping at a specific store because of its private label products.