Young adults have been warming up to the frozen food aisle spending 9% more on frozen foods per trip than the average household in 2017, Nielsen data showed.
Total frozen foods sales in the US rose 1.4% in the last year as category giants like Conagra and Nestlé renovated their conventional frozen meal brands, according to Nielsen.
Conagra, for example, has been making an effort to make nutritional updates to its legacy frozen meal brands including Banquet, Healthy Choice, and Marie Callender's, while its Kid Cuisine line hasn’t changed must since it launched in 1990.
For Kidfresh, its target market is parents who want a healthier alternative to highly-processed frozen meal options for their young kids.
“Quality wise, we are looking at two extremes: One is Kid Cuisine from Conagra and those sell for $2, and the other extreme are the brands that are more niche, 100% organic, and can sell in the natural channel for up to $7,” Kidfresh co-founder and CEO Matt Cohen told FoodNavigator-USA
So the company decided to seize the middle by offering a range of products in the $2.99 to $3.99 range to be affordable, nutritious, and convenient.
The company’s products are free from artificial ingredients and boosted with a stealth amount of vegetables such as pureed cauliflower in its chicken nuggets or pureed carrots in its mac n’ cheese.
Organic products and more innovation to come
As frozen foods portfolios of major CPG firms are slowly chipping away at years of stagnant growth, Kidfresh has been registering more than 40% year-over-year growth with a footprint of 10,000 stores to date.
Since closing a $10m Series A financing round last year led by Monogram Capital, with Emil Capital Partners and AccelFoods, Kidfresh has grown its leadership team including the addition of former Kellogg’s executive, Michael Allen, to its board of directors.
The brand will also continue to expand distribution and build out its innovation pipeline launching organic products at the end of the year and other new frozen food products in 2019.
“We think that we can do even better and we are working on a branding refresh,” Cohen said.
“Kidfresh is a platform brand that has started in frozen, but it has a lot of possible extensions beyond frozen.”
By no means do we claim being a replacement for veggies
Cohen is a strong proponent of eating fresh vegetables prepared at home whenever possible, but the reality of that happening every day is slim, he claimed.
“I will always say there is nothing better than a child eating organic cauliflower prepared at home with love, but that’s not going to happen most of the time, so what do you do then?”
Ryan Carvalho, MD, medical director at Gerber Products, and lead author of the Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), previously told FoodNavigator-USA that it can take up to nine to ten times of parents attempting to get their child to eat a particular vegetable before they take it and hopefully enjoy it.
“We all just can’t go through this battle,” Cohen said.
Just as adults have the option to reach for a convenient, better-for-you food that happens to be frozen, there should be the same option for kids, he said.
“By no means do we claim being a replacement for veggies at all. Have your real veggies; this is an alternative.”