Veggie “burger meister” MorningStar Farms has taken the wraps off plans to introduce “Incogmeato” imitation burger and chicken products to retail and foodservice markets in North America in early 2020. Along with the just launched Happy Little Plant line from Hormel, hard-charging Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger portfolios, it joins a lengthening parade of faux meat products entering the North American and international marketplace.
MorningStar’s Soy-based Incogmeato Chik’n Nuggets and Tenders will be sold in the frozen food section of retail stores, while ready-to-cook, 100% plant protein Burger Patties will be merchandised from refrigerated meat cabinets and cases.
“As more consumers are choosing a ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle and actively reducing meat, we’re thrilled to be extending the MorningStar Farms portfolio with a delicious and satisfying meat-like experience,” said Sara Young, general manager for plant-based proteins at MorningStar Farms division of Battle Creek, Michigan, USA-headquartered Kellogg Company.
MorningStar has sold frozen veggie burgers, faux sausage and other vegan items for many years, but the patties were not especially formulated to taste and have the mouth feel of real meat. Incognito products, however, are made to “sear wonderfully” and “bleed on the grill.”
“We know that about three-fourths of Americans are open to plant-based eating, yet only one in four actually purchase a plant-based alternative. So, the intent is fully there, but it hasn’t necessarily been followed with action. We know the number one barrier to trying plant-based protein is taste. These consumers are still seeking the amazing taste, texture, and sizzling qualities of meat, but want a better alternative for themselves and the planet.”
The MorningStar Farms brand has been a meat-free vegan food category leader for more than 40 years, producing a wide assortment of frozen and chilled plant-based foods ranging from burgers and chicken to breakfast sausage and corn dogs. It delivers roughly 90 million pounds of plant-based protein to consumers throughout the USA.
Happy Little Plants
Meanwhile, during its presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston on September 4, Hormel Foods Corporation announced the launch of the Happy Little Plants line, a new plant-based protein products created as part of the Austin, Minnesota-headquartered company’s first project under its Cultivated Foods umbrella.
“Hormel Foods has one of the most admired brand portfolios in the [meat] industry, led by our legacy of industry-leading innovation,” said Jim Splinter, group vice president of corporate strategy at Hormel Foods. ”We are continuing to build an organization that has the agility and adaptability to create products to align with today’s dynamic marketplace.”
The Happy Little Plants brand is part of the company’s plant-based and blended protein innovation efforts, which began in 2014 with the launch of the Hormel Fuse burger in the foodservice sector. Today, retail and foodservice product offerings have expanded to include additional plant-based pizza topping items produced at Hormel’s Burke Corporation subsidiary, and the Applegate Blend Burger, a product that blends organic meat with organic mushrooms.
Happy Little Plant products launched in the USA during early September and have distribution in select retail outlets, with further expansion planned in the coming months. The gluten-free flagship product is a ground plant-based protein alternative containing 20 grams of non-GMO soy protein with only 180 calories, zero preservatives and no cholesterol.
Splinter added, “We understand consumers across a spectrum of lifestyles are adopting more flexible attitudes and behaviors when thinking about food, especially given the wide variety of products available in the marketplace. We intend to focus on all the ways plants can help consumers find alternatives in their food routines.”