Based on consumer demand, carrageenan, dextrose, autolyzed yeast extract, and bleached wheat flour are four ingredients that are now absent from Stouffer’s Meat and Sauce Lasagna—the frozen-entrée brand's most popular product—with the hopes of stripping these ingredients from other SKUs in the future.
“We want to encourage consumers to take a look at ingredients that we have in our lasagna, and we’re encouraging them to interact with the recipe label so they can see too this notion of our kitchen cupboard principle,” Tom Moe, director of marketing at Nestlé told FoodNavigator-USA during a press event.
Moe said that the ingredient removals won’t be “actively, outright communicated—but it will be clear based on the ingredient label that it’s a very simple ingredient label.”
The kitchen cupboard principle
The reformulation was first announced during an exclusive press event in the company’s R&D kitchen in Ohio. A lasagna cooking session was organized for invited press members and bloggers as a way of showing how a Stouffer’s lasagna could be made using ingredients found in a traditional kitchen cupboard.
“There is a group of consumers that are truly skeptical about ingredients and skeptical about frozen foods that have caused them to pause from entering the whole category,” Moe said. The reformulation is part of Stouffer’s effort to remain relevant as a “convenient comfort food” brand in a time where US consumers are more health conscious.
To remove the ingredients, Moe said that the ratio of things was modified so that the tastes won’t change. “We spent a lot of time talking to our biggest fans, our consumers—about these specific changes. We shared with them the [current and changed recipes] and they told us ‘they were the same’,” he said.
“We’re on a mission to evolve with the consumer—it’s important for us to stay relevant, and in order to stay relevant, we need to listen passionately to consumers, and respond quickly to their wishes and needs,” he added.