Caulipower’s New Chick On The Block gives ‘category-busting nutritional makeover’ to frozen chicken tenders

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Caulipower’s New Chick On The Block gives ‘category-busting nutritional makeover’ to frozen chicken tenders
After disrupting the frozen pizza category and bumping several iconic brands out the category’s top 10 with its better-for-you cauliflower-based crust, Caulipower and Vegolution Foods are trying their luck again on another iconic American comfort food -- frozen chicken tenders.

The company’s founder and CEO Gail Becker announced today that it is giving frozen chicken tenders a “category-busting nutritional makeover,”​ with its New Chick On The Block, which is “leaps and bounds”​ better-for-you than the many other players in the space.

“When you look at the category today, you see a lot of room for improvement,”​ Becker said. She explained, “One is the actual meat. So, a lot of nuggets are just not made with the best parts of the chicken, some people call it pink sludge.”

Another pain point is the breading, which can trigger allergies or add empty calories, she added.

Even if companies use healthier or allergen-friendly coatings, they still deep fry them, “so you are still getting all of that saturated fat,”​ she added.

With this in mind, the company’s New Chick On The Block uses natural chicken breast, a coating that combines white and brown rice flour with cauliflower and is baked – not fried.

These tweaks allow Caulipower to almost halve the calories to 120 per serving for its chicken tenders compared 219 in the average leading competitors. The fat also drops from 11 grams for the average leading chicken tenders to 1.5 grams for Caulipower’s take on the classic food. Net carbs also drop to 11 g versus 16 and protein inches up to 16 grams versus 13 grams.

With nutritionals like this, Becker joked, someone could eat the entire 14 ounce bag for 480 calories.

“When we looked at the opportunity to have such an impact on such a giant category that affects so many people – we thought, how could we not do it,”​ Becker added.

Cutting through the category clutter

Much like the frozen pizza category, the frozen chicken tender and nugget space is crowded and already has several products claiming ‘better-for-you’ status, but just as Becker had a plan to turn the frozen pizza aisle upside down, she has a clear strategy to cut through the clutter in this aisle as well.

Her starting point is bold packaging, which “just like our pizza, is kind of hard to miss”​ with a white background and bold black letters that describe what is inside along with a photo of the product that sits front and center.

“Not only is our packaging very modern and accessible and fun, but we put right on the front in pretty big type ‘baked not fried,’”​ so consumers immediately know what sets Caulipower’s tenders apart from the competition and how they are healthier, she said.

The other predominate call-out on the front of the package is that the tenders are made with Naked Truth Premium Chicken – a co-branding decision that gives consumers added transparency into where their food comes from and gives an added layer of assurance that what is inside is not “sludge”​ but chicken breast from animals that are cage-free and raised with no antibiotics.

Finally, across the top of the box is the Caulipower logo in large font, which will catch fans’ attention and likely instill a sense of inherent trust in the new product.

Becker says Caulipower also will leverage its “big fan base on social media”​ to help drive velocity as soon as the product hits store shelves.

In addition, she said, “we have a lot of excited retailers”​ who “love the brand and are very excited to bring in these tenders”​ based on the strong sales success of Caulipower’s frozen pizzas made with cauliflower crusts.

“Caulipower current accounts for 50% of the growth in the frozen pizza category … and we already have 2% of the frozen pizza market. In the United States we are the number 8 frozen pizza brand. And now we are moving into a category that has not been innovated in quite some time and is just crying out for innovation,”​ which the new tenders deliver, Becker said. “When we put all those things together, we are really excited for a lot of demand at launch,”​ which currently includes more than 4,000 points of distribution.

Revamping America’s favorite comfort foods

In some ways, the launch takes Caulipower in an entirely new direction, but one that Becker says “we feel really good about.”

This is the first time the company will operate in the animal-protein space and while the breading includes cauliflower, the vegetable-focus is much more limited than the company’s other products, which include a relatively new cauliflower-based tortilla and its frozen Sweet Potatoasts.

While the base ingredients may be different, Becker says all the products deliver on the Vegolutionary Foods’ mission to make American comfort foods healthier.

“Pizza, tortillas and chicken tenders are all America’s favorite comfort foods, and we are never going to stop innovating and making them better and healthier and more convenient,”​ Becker said, adding that all of Caulipower’s products thrive in the “intersection between better-for-you, taste and convenience.”

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