Ready Meals on Front Burner at Natural Products Show

There is no shortage of innovative frozen ready meals at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. Billed as the largest trade show for natural, organic and healthy-eating foods, the exhibition opened on March 7 and will run for three days. Among companies rolling out new products at the event are Blake’s All Natural Foods and Udi’s Frozen Foods.

BlakeslogoConcord, New Hampshire-based Blake’s, known for making natural and organic comfort food dishes such Chicken Pot Pie, Shepherd’s Pie and Mac & Cheese, is unveiling a brand new line of all natural frozen meals featuring five recipes that will be available throughout the USA beginning in May. The dishes, all of which are antibiotic- and hormone-free, are as follows:

  • Meatloaf Dinner Casserole, featuring beef, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, and savory gravy
  • Chicken Dinner Casserole, boasting white meat chicken, home-style mashed potatoes and gravy, topped with traditional holiday stuffing
  • 140311 BlakesChickenDumpsChicken & Dumplings, featuring white meat chicken in hearty southern gravy, topped with dumplings
  • Chicken Noodle Casserole, made of white meat chicken, organic pasta and mushroom cream sauce, sprinkled with a cheesy breadcrumb topping
  • Tuna Noodle Casserole with organic pasta, savory mushroom sauce and peas, topped with potato chips

“With this new line, we looked back in Great Grandma Clara’s recipe box to re-invent classic dishes that have been in our family for four generations,” said Chris Licata, president and ceo of Blake’s All Natural Foods. “We’re always looking for new ways to bring unique, convenient, made-from-scratch meals to as many people as we can, and this new line does just that.”

UdislogoElsewhere on the show floor, Boulder, Colorado-headquartered Udi's Gluten Free Foods is introducing four new frozen entrees, each of which have a suggested retail price of $6.49, as follows:

  • Broccoli & Kale Lasagna, packed with cauliflower, carrots and onions as well as broccoli and kale, topped with creamy white sauce.
  • Italian Sausage Lasagna, featuring gluten-free pasta sheets layered with Ricotta and Romano cheeses, parsley and Italian sausage.
  • Penne & Cheese, made with tangy, sharp-aged Cheddar and smooth Colby cheeses.
  • Penne & Cheese with Bacon, topped with uncured bacon.

The retail frozen food sector is crowded, competitive and price-driven, which has led to a decrease in the overall quality and taste of the offerings, according to Denise Sirovatka, vice president of marketing at Udi's. And gluten-free consumers, she added, are often limited to small, hard-to-find brands or vegetarian options.

Udi's recognized the gap for consumers demanding frozen meals made with premium ingredients that deliver on satisfaction and taste.  As such its new frozen, gluten-free entrees have been rolled out to meet the need for better quality and availability.

"We saw an opportunity within the frozen food category to deliver entree options with sophisticated flavor profiles and premium ingredients," said Sirovatka. "While we are a leader in the gluten-free category, we also want to provide great frozen options for all consumers looking for more than the status quo."