Meat and poultry products remain among the top choices for retail shoppers, according to the “Power of Meat” study, published by the Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., and the North American Meat Institute, Washington, D.C. That’s because factors such as price per pound, appearance, nutrition and trust in food safety are changing today’s purchasing behavior. Here’s a breakdown of new meat, poultry and seafood items expanding this category.

Meatless, porkless, crabless. Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., unveiled Boca Essentials, a new line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offer a source of “complete protein” for meatless meals. Varieties include Breakfast Scramble with potatoes, scrambled eggs and vegetables, Roasted Vegetables and Red Quinoa with brown rice and Chile Relleno with green chile peppers, black beans and brown rice.

Canada-based gardein launched mini crispy crabless cakes and sweet and sour porkless bites, both made with non-GMO soy, wheat and veggies. The mini crispy crabless cakes are moist and flaky inside, boasting 9 grams of protein and 32 mg of Omega3 fatty acids per serving. Meanwhile, the sweet and sour porkless bites are Asian-inspired bites that come with a classic sweet and sour sauce.

Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, Elmwood Park, N.J., introduced new Super Greens veggie burgers, packed full of collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard and kale. Each burger boasts just 100 calories per patty, and is spiced with onion, garlic, ginger, cayenne and coriander, lightly sweetened with apple and offers a great source of fiber and vitamins A and C.

Laura’s Lean Beef, Lexington, Ky., introduced 100% grass-fed beef hot dogs, which are uncured and made without nitrates, nitrites or fillers.

Lightlife, Turner Falls, Mass., launched Smart Patties, which are veggie burgers available in Original with Quinoa and Black Bean varieties, as well as Smart Sausage in Harvest Apple, which is a meatless sausage sweetened with apples.

Hot, hot, hot flavors. GNP Co., St. Cloud, Minn., expanded its Gold’n Plump brand with the release of Tex Mex Chicken Patties. Made from premium quality all-natural boneless skinless chicken thighs, these chicken patties provide a traditional beef patty texture with a spice of fresh green chile peppers, diced jalapeños, hot pepper cheese and other authentic Tex Mex seasonings. Plus, they’re vacuum-packed to seal in freshness and are ready-to-go from freezer to skillet or grill for easy meal convenience.

New Generation Consumer Group, a Whittier, Calif.-based consumer products marketing and media company, rolled out Mucho Macho Hot Links sausages, ideal for tailgaters and backyard barbecues.

Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., Smithfield, Va., introduced Eckrich Fire-Roasted Pepper & Onion Smoked Sausage, cooked over natural hardwood with real bell peppers and sweet onions roasted over direct flames.

John Soules Foods, Tyler, Texas, partnered with Dr Pepper, part of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, Texas, to create a new line of Dr Pepper-flavored wings and BBQ. The fully cooked bone-in wings and pulled pork, beef and chicken are marinated with Dr Pepper Sweet & Smokin’ Barbeque sauce. Varieties include Dr Pepper BBQ Wings, Dr Pepper Teriyaki Wings, Clamato Zesty Wings, Dr Pepper Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce, Dr Pepper Pulled Chicken with BBQ Sauce and Dr Pepper Pulled Beef with BBQ Sauce.

al fresco all natural, Chelsea, Mass., launched all-natural, better-for-you fully cooked chicken patties in Roasted Pepper & Asiago, Spinach & Feta and Charbroiled – Lightly Seasoned with Sea Salt varieties. These patties are said to contain 50% less fat than traditional beef patties, and come fully-cooked in a resealable pouch; just heat and serve.

Specialized offerings. The specialty foods division of Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., partnered with the Cancer Nutrition Consortium, West Palm Beach, Fla., to provide cancer patients with nutritional offerings for their specific individual needs during cancer treatment.

Sandwiches. Chicago-based Hillshire Brands expanded its Delights by Jimmy Dean line beyond the breakfast category with new homestyle, slow-cooked lunch and dinner offerings that go from the freezer to the microwave to the table in just minutes. The sandwiches come in Smoked Ham, Pulled Chicken, Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast and Pulled Pork, Smoked Sausage and Beef on a pretzel bun, honey wheat bun, country bun or buttermilk biscuit, and are packaged in heat fresh microwavable pouches, which allow the product to heat right inside the bag. The entrée bowls come in Golden Roasted Turkey, Three Cheese Pasta, Hickory Smoked Ham and Southwest Style Grilled Chicken, Grilled Steak, Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese, Pulled Pork and Golden Roasted Chicken.

Sustainable selections. Former St. Louis Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon partnered with Shire Gate Farm, St. Louis, Mo., and Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Buffalo, N.Y., to serve what is said to be the most sustainable, high-welfare hot dogs and burgers served at concessions at Edward Jones Dome, home to the Rams. These grass-fed beef hot dogs and ground beef burgers are produced using the highest quality grass-fed beef sourced from a handful of local family farm suppliers, all certified by the Animal Welfare Approved program.

Fish sticks in panko coating. Gorton’s Seafood, Gloucester, Mass., re-invented the iconic fish stick with the introduction of new Smart & Crunchy fish sticks. Also available as fish filets, these fish sticks are made with 100% wild-caught Alaska Pollock and breaded in a panko coating.


To learn more about these and other new retail meat, poultry and seafood items, go here.