The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Beyond Meat, El Segundo, Calif., for placing in third place with a total of 553 votes for its Beef-Free Crumbles.
Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Bob Connolly, marketing director of Beyond Meat, to talk more in-depth about the contest, the product and what’s in store for the future.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on being named one of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Top 5 Readers’ Choice winners. What does this recognition mean to you, your company and its products?
Bob Connolly: We were so happy to be nominated and thrilled to be picked a winner. We believe this is great validation in our efforts to place delicious real meat made from plants in grocery stores from coast to coast.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles—was nominated by Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ editor-in-chief, Marina Mayer. What features does this new product hold that would allow it to even be nominated?
Connolly: Our Beef-Free Crumbles, also known as Beyond Beef, is the first of its kind. In addition to the true taste and texture of ground beef, we’re able to provide our consumers with as much protein as ground beef with half the fat. We’re also very proud of the fact that Beyond Beef is soy-free, gluten-free and animal-free.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: How does this new product resonate with your fans and consumers?
Connolly: Our fans and consumers are literally eating it right up. We’re on a nationwide sampling tour to introduce consumers to our real meat made from plants and the general reaction ranges from Amazing to Wow. The nationwide sampling tour kicked off in March in Southern California with a 3-month food truck campaign traveling to area Whole Foods Market stores and local events, like the LA Vegan Beer Fest. And, we’re holding in-store sampling events in over 2,000 locations. The in-store sampling continues through September in retailers like Whole Foods, Publix, Giant Eagle, Safeway, HEB and others.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?
Connolly: This product was a long time coming. It isn’t easy to replace something as closely held to a warm-blooded American as ground beef. We set our sights very high to deliver the taste and texture of ground beef with all the protein and just half the fat. After long days, weeks and months of testing and tweaking, we’re incredibly proud of this new item.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Re: its packaging, any unique features to the product’s packaging?
Connolly: Our packaging is as functional and utilitarian as ground beef itself. What’s really great however is the ability to rip open a bag of Beyond Beef, warm it in a pan and you’re ready to go with any of your favorite recipes. There’s no handling of raw meat or draining of fat, as it’s as simple as heat and eat. 6. What is on the horizon for your company? You name it, we’re going after it. Beyond Meat is going to continue to develop innovations that further prove our brand promise of “Real Meat, Made from Plants.” We continue to pursue our 25/20 vision of helping Americans reduce their meat consumption 25% by the year 2020. With products like Beyond Beef and Beyond Chicken, there are great reasons to eat less meat while eating healthy, saving the planet and saving animals all at the same time.
To learn more about this and other winners from Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, check out the July 2014 State of the Industry report.