State of the Industry: Magnificent Meals
Today’s meals and entrées come in all shapes and sizes, yet share one thing in common—a vintage appeal.
Superheroes don different costumes and hold different powers. Whether it’s to counter crime or combat supervillians, they all possess a little something magnificent. But, at the end of the day, it’s not about being different—it’s about being exotic, purposeful and stellar.
Such is the case for today’s refrigerated and frozen meals and entrées, as they dare to be different, yet maintain the strength to stay true to their original values.
Oven bake-only. New to Barber Foods’ lineup of frozen entrées, for example, is a Broccoli & Cheese variety. This oven bake-only raw chicken breast with rib meat is stuffed with a broccoli and cheese mix, then seasoned—not breaded—with rosemary citrus. Each 10-ounce box comes with two individually wrapped entrées and boasts just 180 calories per serving.
Made-from-scratch hand-helds. EVOL Foods, the Boulder, Colo.-based maker of made-from-scratch natural and organic frozen meals and snacks, expanded its product line to include two new hand-held items. PLUS Burritos with Guacamole come with a guacamole packet that while the burrito is being warmed, can be defrosted by soaking in a glass of water. PLUS is available in Gluten Free Chicken, Steak Fajita, Chicken Fajita and Veggie Fajita varieties.
Additionally, EVOL’s gluten-free burritos are made with whole grain gluten-free tortillas that hold up in the freezer and microwave. Available in Chicken, Shredded Beef and Chicken Plus options, these dairy-free burritos are stuffed with authentic tomato, roasted corn salsa and premium spices.
Authentic recipes. Ramar Foods, Pittsburg, Calif., shares a culinary journey through the flavor of the Philippines with the new Kusina line of healthy, heat-and-serve entrées using time-honored family recipes. The Chicken Sisig is an example of a Filipinio “pulutan”—hearty, spicy and slightly tangy snacks served during celebrations. Kusina’s interpretation of Chicken Sisig features the bright tastes of malt vinegar and lemon mixed with steamed rice. The Traditional Pork Adobo is a fusion of Moroccan influence with an Asian twist, complete with lean, skillet-seasoned pork marinated in a tangy blend of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce and black pepper over steamed rice. Lastly, the Chicken Empanadas consist of a blend of a tender baked (not fried) crust and a savory/sweet filling of antibiotic-free chicken, raisins and vegetables and spices.
Polska Foods, Saratoga, Calif., announced a new line of flash-frozen pierogies. Made using the company’s secret Polish family recipe, including fresh herbs, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, spices, whole wheat pierogies and vegan pierogies (mushroom and cabbage), this line is frozen fresh (not pre-cooked) and is made in minutes via a pot of boiling water. Each 12-ounce bag makes about 1 pound of pierogies.
Dinners for two. La Jolla, Calif.-based Kashi expanded its line of Kashi steam meals to include Chicken and Chipotle BBQ— a combination of juicy mangoes, roasted green beans, red onions and red and green peppers paired with tender white-meat chicken, mixed with a sweet chipotle BBQ sauce and served over Kashi Seven Whole Grains and Sesame pilaf—and Italian Vegetable Medley Pasta— a savory combination of oven-dried tomatoes, edamame, crisp broccoli, red peppers, carrots and yellow squash blended with a creamy marinara sauce and tossed with Kashi 7 Whole Grain Rotini pasta. These meals-for-two offer 42-plus grams of whole grains per serving.
Low carbs. Denver-based Atkins Internationals, Inc. launched Atkins Frozen Meals, what is said to be the first and only line of indulgent low-carb entrées available nationwide. These Atkins-friendly items are made with whole food ingredients like freshly-picked vegetables, real, rich creams and sauces and premium custom meats without any fillers or preservatives. They come in Farmhouse-Style Sausage Scramble, Crustless Chicken Pot Pie, Tex-Mex Scramble, Meatloaf with Portobello Mushroom & Gravy, Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo, Roast Turkey Tenders with Herb Pan Gravy, Italian Sausage Primavera, Chile con Carne and Beef Merlot.
Meal toppers. The LEAN CUISINE brand, owned by Nestlé USA, Glendale, Calif., now encompasses LEAN CUISINE Salad Additions entrées, which are salad combinations that are customizable and prepared in a steam pouch—just bring your own lettuce. They come in Asian-Style Chicken Salad with Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette (grilled white meat chicken, edamame, pineapple, broccoli and yellow and orange carrots with crispy noodles), Southwest-Style Chicken Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing (grilled white meat chicken, black beans, sweet corn, roasted red peppers and poblano peppers with crispy tortilla strips), Cranberry & Chicken Salad with Raspberry Cabernet Vinaigrette (grilled white-meat chicken, dried cranberries, broccoli, red onions, yellow carrots and a blend of whole grains with crunchy sesame sticks) and Bistro Chicken Salad with Sweet & Tangy Vinaigrette with Bacon (grilled white meat chicken, asparagus, yellow carrots and red peppers with crispy onion straws).
Meals for kids. Greenie Tots is said to be the first company to provide meatless soy-free frozen entrées that mimic the look and taste of meat. These fresh-frozen meals are designed for kids of all ages, contain no hormones, pesticides or high-fructose corn syrup and can be baked or microwaved and ready to eat in as little as five minutes. Meal choices include Cauliflower Rice with Chicken, Pasta & Spinach Marinara with Meat-Style Grounds, Mac & Cheese with Peas, Chicken, Cheese & Spinach Quesadillas with Mixed Vegetables and Cheeseburger Quesadillas with Sweet Potato Fries.
The power of pasta. ConAgra Foods, Inc., Omaha, Neb., introduced a new line of Healthy Choice baked entrées that deliver comfort cuisine without sacrificing taste or nutrition. The line features freshly-made pastas, flavorful sauces and blended cheeses to create Four Cheese Ziti Marinara, Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Fettuccini Alfredo Bake, Italian Sausage Pasta Bake, Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Chicken and Rice Cheddar Bake. Plus, each entrée is served in an Even Bake tray, designed to cook evenly and minimize burnt edges.
Cranford, N.J.-based Tofutti Brands expanded its frozen food line with the introduction of what is said to be the first completely egg-free, dairy-free cheese ravioli. Available in two varieties—Jumbo and Bite-Sized—these raviolis are stuffed with Tofutti Better than Ricotta Cheese for a homemade taste. Each pasta pocket packs approximately 7 grams of protein, 0 grams trans-fat and 0 milligrams of cholesterol. Simply cook for 6-8 minutes and add your favorite sauce.
London-based Kerry Foods added two new pasta dishes to its portfolio of quality-made meals. Lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese, both of which are favorite recipes among British families, are made from 100% minced beef from trusted sources. They come in Shepherd’s Pie (Lamb), Cottage Pie, Minced Beef Hotpot and Sausage & Mash (Pork) varieties.
Vegetarian vs. organic. New to Applegate Farm’s portfolio of antibiotic-free products are gluten-free chicken nuggets, now in a 16-ounce family-size package. These all-natural breaded nugget-shaped chicken patties are made from humanely-raised poultry, according to the Bridgewater, N.J., company.
Meanwhile, Deep Foods Inc., Union, N.J., expanded its Tandoor Chef line to include Malai Kofta frozen entrées, all-natural, certified-vegetarian meals that feature pillowy vegetable dumplings in a mildly-spiced creamy sauce with just 140 calories per serving.
Mini meals. Jennie-O Turkey Store, a Willmar, Minn., division of Hormel Foods Corp. (winner of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2013 Sustainable Supply Chain of the Year award, May 2013 issue), is spicing up the refrigerated aisles with Turkey Tacos, a better-for-you mini soft taco kit. From box to bite in less than two minutes, each 13.8-ounce kit comes with 6 ounces of fully cooked, taco-seasoned ground turkey in sauce, eight 4-inch flour tortillas and 3 ounces of shredded cheese; the 13-ounce nacho kit contains 6 ounces of fully cooked, taco-flavored ground turkey in sauce, a 4-ounce package of tortilla chips and 3 ounces of shredded cheese.
Lean lunches wrapped up in flavor. Cedarlane Natural Foods, the Carson, Calif.-based maker of Frankly Fresh frozen entrées, expanded its CedarLEAN line with new soup and wrap combination meals. They come in Minestrone Soup and Mediterranean Wrap, Butternut Squash Soup and Quinoa Wrap and Lentil Vegetable Soup and Samosa Wrap offerings.
Saffron Road, Stamford, Conn., launched three all-natural, hand-wrapped, Halal-certified, whole wheat chapatti wraps. Chana Saag consists of tender chickpeas and spinach sautéed with authentic Indian spices. Keema with Chicken & Basmati Rice features sautéed ground chicken, scallions, red peppers and peas. And, Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice boasts roasted chicken simmered with tandoori spices in a robust, creamy tomato sauce.
Seafood with a spark. Blue Horizon Wild, Framingham, Mass., created individual portion-size entrées, including Penne ala Vodka, Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese and Shrimp Pad Thai.
Canada-based High Liner Foods, Inc. debuted new Sea Cuisine seafood entrées featuring salmon, tilapia and cod. Gourmet Crusted consists of a flavorful crust that stays crispy when baked, whereas Fire Roasted maintains fully-prepared fillets that have been flame-roasted and seasoned through the company’s proprietary flame-searing process. Pub Classics consist of battered favorites like shrimp and cod cooked in a beer batter made with an American microbrew beer or English ale.
Whether it’s mini or full, authentic or organic, today’s meals and entrées stand the true test of time.
To learn more about these and other new meals and entrées, go to http://bit.ly/19VCNBi.