As the better-for-you segment continues to expand, CPGs are grappling with how to keep their legacy brands relevant and stay on trend. For those products traditionally made with meat or dairy, creating a plant-based alternative has opened up the brand to new consumers. Others are embracing clean label, or reformulating to avoid gluten. Here are some of the latest legacy food products to undergo a makeover.
Barilla harnesses the power of legumes for pasta
In 2018, pasta giant Barilla debuted its One-Ingredient Legume Pastas line, which targeted two consumer trends at once: gluten-free and high-protein diets. It began with four varieties that each feature just one ingredient — chickpea or red lentil flour. The line has since expanded to six products, with shapes ranging from rotini and penne to casarecce and spaghetti. This past September, Barilla introduced the latest addition with One-Ingredient Chickpea Spaghetti.
The products tout gluten-free and non-GMO verification. The chickpea varieties contains 11 grams of protein per serving, while the red lentil pasta packs 13 grams.
There is no doubt that Barilla was eyeing the success of Banza, a chickpea-centric brand that has seen significant growth with its pasta made of the legume. Bean pasta is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 13% per year through 2025 to be worth more than $2.4 billion, according to Research and Markets.
Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sandwiches go plant based
Early this year, Tyson Foods debuted two varieties of its popular Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches made with plant-based patties. The Jimmy Dean Plant-Based Patty, Egg & Cheese Croissant and Jimmy Dean Delights Plant-Based Patty & Frittata Sandwiches use the same seasoning as Jimmy Dean’s regular meat products in order to attract fans of its animal-meat based sausage. The plant-based patty on the croissant variety is made with soy protein and egg whites, while the frittata sandwich patty also contains black beans, quinoa and brown rice, the company said.
Tyson began dipping its toes in the plant-based segment in 2019 with its Raised & Rooted line of pea protein and beef blended burgers and pea-based nuggets. With the plant-based Jimmy Dean sandwiches, it was able to take advantage of a growth opportunity in the breakfast space and gain consumers increasingly embracing meat alternatives.
Mission Foods taps almonds, cauliflower and peas for tortillas
This past September, Mission Foods launched two new varieties to its Better for You line of low-carb, organic, whole wheat and gluten-free tortillas made with almond and cauliflower flours. The company said that it was expanding into the space due to market trends, and prioritizing consumers who are vegan or have dietary issues, along with those who just want to live a healthier lifestyle. The almond and cauliflower-based tortillas join the brand’s whole wheat pea protein-fortified wraps, which contain 7 grams of protein.
Mission touts the almond and cauliflower products’ fiber content at 4 grams per serving. This compares to its flour and corn tortillas, which contain 1 and 3 grams of fiber, respectively. The new tortillas are also gluten free.
Hidden Valley remakes ranch for vegan appetites
Clorox-owned ranch brand Hidden Valley launched the plant-based, vegan version of its flagship product at the start of 2021. Plant-Powered Hidden Valley Ranch contains soybean protein isolate and is free of dairy, gluten and nuts. It contains 110 calories per serving, 20 less than regular ranch.
Crafting a vegan version of ranch seems like a sure bet, considering it is the most popular salad dressing flavor in the U.S., according to Statista data. While there have always been plant-based salad dressings, Hidden Valley’s foray into a vegan version of a traditionally dairy-based dressing shows how many more opportunities remain for food manufacturers to explore the trend. Plant-based dairy spreads, dips, sour cream and sauces were worth $61 million in sales in 2020, according to data from SPINS, the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association.
Oreo goes gluten free
In 2021, Mondelēz launched a gluten-free version of its popular Oreo cookies. There are now versions of both regular and Double Stuf Oreos that eschew gluten, made with a mix of two types of gluten-free flour: white rice and oat.
Research and Markets estimates that the gluten-free market in the U.S. could approach the $6 billion mark by 2025. The growth is being driven by consumers who are increasingly questioning the effects of traditional ingredients like wheat-based flour — and it’s not limited to those with a bona fide allergy. One study by The Hartman Group even found that 35% of consumers who buy products free of gluten have no specific sensitivity or other special reason to do so.