- Impossible Foods is launching its first branded frozen plant-based entrees, Impossible Bowls. The single-serve frozen meals come in eight varieties featuring Impossible Foods’ different plant-based meat options and can be cooked in five minutes or less.
- The bowls, which are developed and distributed in partnership with Golden West Food Group, will first launch at about 4,000 Walmarts nationwide. The entire portfolio will be on shelves by October.
- Plant-based meat companies have partnered with other food companies to make meat-free versions of popular foods ranging from ravioli to pizza. This is Impossible Foods’ first solely branded meal option.
Impossible Foods brought forward a new breed of meat substitutes with its Impossible Burgers, Sausage, Pork and Chicken. But now it’s taking its branded offerings a step past just the meat, and creating entire frozen meals around its signature offerings.
The eight different Impossible Bowl options represent an array of cuisines and culinary preferences. They include Sweet & Sour Impossible Pork, Teriyaki Impossible Chicken, Chili Mac with Impossible Pork, Barbeque Impossible Pork, Spaghetti & Impossible Meatballs, Pasta Bolognese with Impossible Beef & Pork, Burrito Bowl with Impossible Beef, and Spicy Enchilada Bowl with Impossible Chicken.
With this launch, Impossible Foods crosses from being just a plant-based meat maker to a provider of full meals, complete with meat analogs. And these products move the company into the realm of quick and convenient meals. A consumer who is curious about plant-based meat but might not want to cook a full meal may be more likely to pick up a frozen single-serve option.
The frozen food category is a good place to launch right now. Category sales skyrocketed during the pandemic as consumers were looking for convenience, food with long shelf lives and items to stockpile. Consumers’ general perception of frozen food has gone from being a staid and lower-quality product to one that is interesting, innovative, fresh and more premium.
With inflation and supply chain issues continuing to drive up food prices, consumers may be doing more shopping in the frozen aisle. In a survey from Deloitte last year, about half of consumers believed the price of frozen food hadn’t gone up at all, while 82% felt fresh food prices had risen more than justified.
And as the economy continues to be turbulent, the future of this space is bright. For years, frozen food has been seen as an economical choice for shoppers that performs well during recessions, a former Euromonitor research analyst previously told Food Dive. Seven in 10 consumers in last year’s Deloitte survey said they think about how much food is wasted when they make purchase decisions, making long-lasting preserved frozen items preferable options.
A few other brands in the plant-based space offer full meals. Plant-based stalwart Gardein, owned by Conagra Brands, has a line of frozen bowls featuring its plant-based chick’n and saus’ge. Tattooed Chef also features bowls and meals with plant-based chicken, sausage and veggies. And Nestlé-owned Sweet Earth puts its Awesome Grounds and Mindful Chik’n in frozen bowls under the Sweet Earth brand, as well as some bigger Nestlé brands including Stouffer’s lasagna and DiGiorno pizza.