- Mosaic Foods, a meal subscription startup offering grain-based, vegetarian frozen meals, launched Thursday with a line of six products, according to a company press release. Meal delivery will be available in the Northeast to start.
- The company will offer a flexible subscription model, allowing shoppers to choose their delivery frequency and box size with four, eight or 12 meals that range in price from $8.99 to $12.49 per meal, said Sam McIntire, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Mosaic, in an interview with Grocery Dive.
- Mosaic’s meal assortment features selections such as a Tuscan Pesto Bowl, a Greek Jackfruit Bowl and a Peanut Tofu Bowl. Each bowl includes a separately packaged savory sauce and a garnish to add texture and flavor. The meals can be microwaved in five minutes or less, McIntire said.
With its subscription-based approach, Mosaic Foods is a bit of a mashup between a frozen meal company and meal kit provider. The company wants to elevate the category with new offerings that will stand out from what shoppers can get in the frozen food aisle today — selections full of artificial ingredients that are “lost in the past,” co-founder and CEO Matt Davis told Grocery Dive.
McIntire and Davis started laying the foundation for Mosaic Foods just over a year ago when the pair was trying to identify the next big opportunity in food.
"We pretty quickly got excited about frozen as a category," Davis said. "What we realized was that we were making better frozen food at home than anything we’d gotten in a grocery store … we looked around and thought, 'Why is that? Why can’t frozen food be better?'"
Davis previously worked at Blue Apron as senior director of operations where he helped scale and develop the supply chain, which he said helped him learn how to navigate the complexities of procurement and production.
The key differentiator, according to Davis, is the health aspect of the company’s meals.
"The labels are extremely clean, and they’re all made from ingredients that you find in grandma’s pantry. And the recipes are pretty straightforward," Davis said.
By jumping into frozen meals, Mosaic is elbowing its way onto hallowed ground for grocery retailers. The company faces an uphill climb to challenge the Whole Foods and Stop & Shops of the industry, but its success could point the way for further category growth.
Mosaic's entry also comes at an interesting time, with direct-to-consumer meal services continuing to proliferate as meal kits struggle. While Blue Apron has labored to shore up its bottom line, services like Daily Harvest, which delivers fresh smoothie ingredients for customers to blend at home, and Freshly, which dishes out quick-prep dishes, are staking their claim in online meal delivery.
Driven by technology and flavor innovations, not to mention consumers' never-dimming desire for convenience, frozen food sales have started to improve recently at supermarkets. According to IRI data, frozen sales outpaced total store and fresh perimeter sales in 2017 and then widened the gap last year, with 2.6% sales growth compared to 1.7% for the total store. Unit sales for frozen were up 2.3% last year.
According to a recent analysis from the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association, frozen food brands are taking note of health. Wellness claims on frozen food packages are increasing and driving growth, with non-GMO claims on frozen foods up 10% and organic claims up 9% in 2018 over the year prior, the report found. Gluten-free claims were up 4% and free-from artificial colors and flavor claims were up 6%.