Distribution of Don Lee Farms Organic Plant-Based Burger is rolling on. Starting in May they will be available at Kroger Co. retail stores across the USA. Patties are now being shipped to the chain’s Ralphs, Dillons, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC and Fred Meyer outlets as well as Kroger stores.
“Working with Kroger has been a priority for us in our pursuit to expand,” said Donald Goodman, president of Los Angeles, California-headquartered Don Lee Farms. “With the addition of Kroger, we are bringing the fastest growing burger of its kind to nearly 2,000 more locations in the United States. With both private label and branded, we are now in over 8,000 retail markets.”
Established in 1982, the family-owned company has been named by Women’s Health as one of the best veggie burger brand producers, based on input from nutritionists. Distribution of its vegan and gluten-free products –which include organic veggie bowls and pinto bean, veggie and cheese burritos – now extends well beyond North America to 15 countries in Europe, South America and the Caribbean.
Lawsuit Targets Beyond Meat
Meanwhile, Don Lee Farms is suing El Segundo, California-based Beyond Meat, a former client, for fraud, negligence and breach of contract. Here are the details, according to a press released recently by the Los Angeles company:
“Whole Foods Market, a customer of Don Lee Farms’ plant-based and meat proteins since 2012, introduced startup Beyond Meat to Don Lee Farms in 2014 to help them make meat alternatives. Beyond Meat entered into an exclusive supply agreement with Don Lee Farms to produce all of their products (including the development and launch of the Beyond Burger). The Beyond Burger was solely manufactured by Don Lee Farms under the exclusive supply agreement in 2016. After the success of the new burger, the startup walked away from the agreement in 2017 and transferred all production and processes developed under the agreement to other food manufacturers.
“The Beyond Burger, Beyond Meat’s flagship product, is around 70% of their total sales according to the startup…During the agreement, Don Lee Farms shared trade secrets, know-how and technology the family food company developed over 35 years.
“During the partnership, Don Lee Farms raised significant concerns regarding inadequate food safety protocols for raw materials produced at Beyond Meat’s facility, after receiving adulterated product to be used to make consumer items for Beyond Meat.”