Cali'flour distribution hits over 5,000 stores as the brand rolls out topped frozen pizzas

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Cali'flour Foods
Photo: Cali'flour Foods

Related tags: cauliflower, Walmart, Frozen food

Cali'flour Foods is ramping up retail distribution of its gluten-free, grain-free pizza crusts, entering Walmart stores nationwide and expanding its existing Kroger footprint bringing the brand's store count to over 5,000 locations.

The company's core products are cauliflower crusts made with whole heads of fresh cauliflower, egg whites, mozzarella, and spices. The crusts can be kept in the freezer for up to nine months upon purchase, and consumers can customize the crusts by adding their own toppings. 

'We're confident that consumers will increasingly recognize our point of difference'

Cali'flour Foods​ is seeking to become the "gold standard"​ of the cauliflower pizza category from a nutrition and taste standpoint.

As Steve Hughes, founder of the venture capital firm Sunrise Strategic Founders, told this publication, "We think if we can be purists on this and make Cali'flour the gold standard, ​[Cauli'flour Food founder] Amy ​[Lacey] will be in a great differentiated position long term."​​

Unlike some other cauliflower pizza crust brands, Cali'flour Foods products do not contain any added 'filler ingredients' such as almond flour, cassava flour, tapioca flour, making it the lowest carb (1 g net carbs) cauliflower pizza crust product on the market, according to founder Amy Lacey. 

"The cauliflower segment has attracted a lot of competition recently, but we are staying true to our roots: fresh, recognizable ingredients (including fresh, whole cauliflower heads) that deliver the lowest-carb products on the market. We're confident that consumers will increasingly recognize our point of difference compared to other cauliflower products on the market,"​ Lacey told FoodNavigator-USA. 

At retail, Cali'flour Foods will be stocked in the frozen foods aisle, an area Lacey hopes to breathe new life into.

"We are reinventing the frozen section with healthy, great-tasting, low carb pizza crusts, and frozen pizzas, and we have lots of additional innovation to come,"​ she said. 

Launching topped pizza

Cali'flour Foods is currently expanding into topped pizzas in order to better compete in the frozen pizza category, which generated $4.9bn in retail sales for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 4, 2018 growing 4.9% in dollar growth, according IRI data. In its annual frozen food report​, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) found that frozen pizza has among the highest household engagement with 70.6% of US households purchasing frozen pizza on a regular basis.

While the main driver of frozen pizza purchases has been its convenience, there's still room for growth in the category where brands can differentiate themselves from the competition by highlighting better-for-you ingredients and new flavors, according to AFFI. 

Cali'flour's new topped pizza line (artisan margherita, supreme veggie, classic cheese, and uncured chicken pepperoni) will be available online initially and will start rolling out to grocery stores in the months ahead, Lacey said.

califlourfounder_amylacey

Founder of Cali'flour Foods Amy Lacey has doubled the business largely under her own steam and entirely online before accepting outside investment from Sunrise Strategic Partners in May 2019​. 

"The most important decision we make is who the founder is. It takes a unique person to get to a business to $10m-$20m,"​ Sunrise Strategic Partners founder Steve Hughes said.

To enter its next growth phase, Cali'flour Foods is building out its leadership team with food industry veterans, according to Lacey.

"Cali'flour has expanded our operations and supply chain team to include seasoned industry veterans who are working closely with our manufacturing partner to ramp up production,"​ said Lacey. 

"We have also secured relationships with our farms to guarantee the highest quality, fresh whole heads of cauliflower."

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