Gardein’s new spicy vegan gochujang chicken wings are now at Walmart.
The vegan meat previewed a number of new products at trade shows earlier this year. The new lineup included the Korean-inspired chicken wings, sliced Italian sausage, breakfast patties, and ready meal bowls.
Gardein is owned by major packaged foods company Conagra Brands. Bob Nolan, senior vice president of insights and analytics at Conagra Brands revealed in an interview with Food Navigator that Gardein’s sales have quadrupled over the past four years, with retail and foodservice sales topping $170 million. It’s now the second-largest meat alternative brand in the country behind the Kellogg Company’s Morningstar Farms.
The $30 Billion Vegan Meat Market
Nolan believes that the plant-based meat market’s potential for growth is strong: “I’d say that to be conservative, in the next 7-10 years we’re talking about a $30bn opportunity across all markets in the US.”
Meat alternatives sales in the US reached $895 million for the year ending May 25, according to Nielsen data. A SPINS report commissioned by two nonprofits in the vegan food space — the Good Food Institute (GFI) and the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) — revealed that plant-based meat increased 10 percent last year, outpacing traditional meat’s 2 percent growth.
It’s only the beginning for the plant-based food market, noted GFI’s associate director of corporate engagement Caroline Bushnell.
“Consumer appetite for plant-based foods is surging as consumers increasingly make the switch to foods that match their changing values and desire for more sustainable options,” Bushnell said. “This growth will continue as more companies bring next-generation innovations to market that really deliver on the most important driver of consumer choice: taste.”
“Next-generation innovations” include the new family of realistic vegan meat products such as the Beyond and Impossible burgers, which are emerging as mainstream darlings. Collectively, both brands have partnered with restaurants and retailers including White Castle, Burger King, Del Taco, 7-Eleven, KFC, Dunkin’, and Little Caesars.
Conagra Brands agrees that next-generation innovations will pull in new customers. “Gardein’s corn burger is underdeveloped,” Conagra CEO Sean Connolly said during an investors call last June, “and we are in the process of creating a next-generation beefless burger.”
Gardein’s new “Ultimate” range of vegan products includes burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausages. A launch date has not been announced, but its new vegan products like the gochujang-style wings, began rolling out to major retailers, including Walmart and Target, earlier this summer.