- Foster Farms is introducing its new Smart Crust frozen pizza line, swapping out traditional wheat-based crust for one made of a mix of Foster Farms chicken breast, egg whites and cheese.
- This substitution lowers the carb count to 4 grams per serving and boosts the protein to 25 grams per serving. The frozen pizzas are gluten-free, grain-free and keto-certified before toppings are added.
- Each pizza will retail for $5.99, The Smart Crust line comes in three varieties: Four Cheese, Uncured Pepperoni and Uncured Bacon Club. The new product will be sold nationwide at major retailers.
Keto products continue to be hot commodities for consumers looking for low carb options on their daily menus. This new frozen pizza is catering to that shopper.
From trade shows to product launches, it is clear that keto and protein have been in demand. Technavio predicts the global keto diet market is poised to grow by an annual rate of 5% to $1.11 billion by 2023.
Although popular, the ketogenic diet is restrictive. The low-carb, high-fat regimen designed to aid in weight loss essentially eliminates a dieter's intake of carbs and sugar, making some indulgent foods — including pizza — off limits.
Pizza is a perennially popular option with Americans, so it is no surprise that companies have tweaked the recipe to make the meal suitable for those following the keto diet. Gluten-free pizza crusts made from almond flour from Simple Mills and cauliflower pizza crust from California Pizza Kitchen and Cali’flour Foods have become immensely popular. A meaty substitution for pizza crust is yet another evolution in the quest to deliver alternatives to consumers.
Substituting meat for bread is not a common exchange in the CPG space. Generally, grain-based snacks and breads are reimagined using nut flours, vegetables or seeds. By adding an extra layer of meat to an already meat-heavy dish, Foster Farms is upping the ante and appealing not only to keto consumers, but also to those who are seeking to increase their protein intake — another major eating trend. Research and Markets estimated the global protein ingredients market could reach $48.77 billion in 2025.
The continued demand for protein has spurred many companies to add more of it to their products, many times from plant-based sources. However, the attraction of animal protein remains strong. According to USDA data, Americans ate a record amount of meat in 2018. This followed the record-breaking 2016, when meat consumption posted its largest increase in 40 years. Foster Farms’ new frozen pizzas are hoping to capitalize on that demand.
Keto products, by and large, remain focused on the removal of grains and sugar typically using plant-based substitutions. Conagra Brands refreshed the Duncan Hines brand this year with keto versions of its cake mixes. Danone has Two Good, a low-fat, low-sugar Greek yogurt that caters to the keto lifestyle. Halo Top has seven flavors in its Keto Series. While these product introductions are relatively new to the market, Conagra noted in its Q3 earnings report that its Duncan Hines brand has seen an uptick in sales after the company debuted its keto-friendly cake cups in January. Danone also reported that its U.S. brand Two Good is a top performing brand and has done “particularly well” as of the company’s latest earnings report.
With earnings demonstrating keto products are not only popular but also profitable, more companies may begin to look seriously into the space. Meat companies are especially well positioned to enter the market due to animal-protein checking off both keto-friendly and high-protein boxes. While more meat-based pizza crusts may not yet be on the menu, more mash-ups may appear, like meat buns for burgers.