- MorningStar Farms is rolling out a plant-based burger with ominvore consumers in mind, the company announced last week.
- The Kellogg brand claims the new product mimics the taste and texture of traditional meat burgers as the company looks to target beyond vegan consumers.
- With traditional meat consumers comprising almost half of new plant-based protein buyers, Kellogg is hoping its new strategy with the MorningStar brand can help it stand out in a struggling space.
The plant-based burger category is saturated already, with ubiquitous brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, but has also faced headwinds in recent months as once lofty projections of the category clash with slumping sales.
Since Kellogg acquired MorningStar Farms in 1999, the company has taken several turns in its strategy with its vegan and vegetarian arm. After debuting the Incogmeato burger in 2020, it announced the product’s discontinuation in April while continuing to sell the brand’s tenders, nuggets and breakfast items.
Uncertainty within the plant-based segment also led Kellogg to split off from the Morningstar Farms brand in June 2022 and then walking back due to volatility in the space, CEO Steve Cahillaine previously told Food Dive.
Kellogg’s decision to expand with MorningStar Farms products after alternating on the brand in recent years comes at an interesting moment for the plant-based category.
Focusing on taste, the new product seeks to attract omnivores, or consumers who eat both plant and animal products.
Taste was recently found to be the number one reason for consumers coming back to the category, and also the number one barrier from giving it a try.
The new burger offering contains 42% less fat than a cooked ground beef patty and 21 grams of protein per serving, allowing Kellogg to address one of the other concerns within the plant-based meat category — how healthy it actually is.
Experts in the space have questioned whether making plant-based meat indistinguishable is the best strategy to take, as it may not be what consumers are actually looking to get out of the products.
The company is using this strategy, however, in hopes of attracting more customers.
"We know shoppers have been seeking a premium plant-based burger option – something that's already seasoned and truly tastes like meat, but with prep simple enough to fit their busy lifestyles," Joe Beauprez, senior director of marketing in frozen foods, said in a statement.