- Applegate, a Hormel Foods brand that manufactures organic meat, cheese and frozen food items, announced a new partnership Wednesday with Whole30, a popular elimination diet plan, according to Meat and Poultry. The 30-day diet excludes grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol and sweeteners.
- Seventeen of Applegate’s meat options are getting the Whole30 stamp of approval, including its no sugar bacon, turkey hot dogs and grilled chicken breast strips.
- "At Applegate, we are motivated to continuously offer delicious food choices that fit with a diverse range of eating habits and lifestyles," Nicole Glenn, Applegate's vice president of marketing, told Meat and Poultry. "We are delighted to be working alongside Whole30 to deliver Whole30 compliant options to consumers."
The Whole30 diet is among the more popular ones right now, racking up 60,000 Google searches per month. The book the diet is based on also is a bestseller. It’s core concept is not one of a diet, but rather eliminating certain food groups to "reset" the body and promote healthy living.
This focus on holistic health and nutrition reflects the growing power of clean eating and the "food as medicine" trend. Applegate's collaboration with the diet seems to be a savvy move, but will getting ‘Whole30 approved’ stamped on 17 of its products really matter to the average customer?
Diet branding has traditionally helped product sales, especially when that plan is widely known, such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Getting recognition for a trendy diet can be a helpful way to bring a specialty item, like Applegate’s organic sausages, to the public’s attention. It typically results in increased product sampling, but turning that into repeat business is more challenging.
Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30 diet, told Food Navigator there is a huge social media movement propelling the diet into the mainstream, with 2.8 million Instagram photos that have a #Whole30 hashtag. Applegate was already a solid brand before it got the attention of Whole30. In 2015, when it was purchased by Hormel, annual sales were expected to reach $340 million. While that’s a drop in the bucket compared to Hormel’s roughly $9.3 billion, it’s respectable for a specialty product.
Many diet trends come and go — in the early 2000s, for example, many Americans followed the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet to lose extra weight, making "low-carb" a food buzzword. It will be interesting to see how this new partnership affects Applegate’s sales. At the very least, it will give the brand a slight edge over competitors when consumers on the Whole30 diet are looking for an organic, nitrate-free meat option even if the diet option eventually fades in popularity.