The chickpea-based mayo joins O’dang Foods' existing line of plant-based hummus dressings sold nationwide at variety of retailers including Big Y, Bristol Farms, Central Market, Fairway, The Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme, Gelson's, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Ingles, Jewel, King's, Raley’s, Walmart, and Weis.
Marrying flavor and better-for-you
Consumers’ desire for flavorful, easy-to-prep, and better-for-you meal solutions is on the rise as many households are spending more time in the kitchen cooking and experimenting with ingredients.
“The condiments category is an exciting one, because it brings great flavor and experience to consumers,” Eric Hintz, CEO of O’dang Foods, told FoodNavigator-USA.
Condiments and ready-to-eat sauces have been a simple shortcut for the culinary-challenged or time-pressed consumer to easily pack in flavor to a dish in an emerging trend known as ‘speed scratch,’ said Hintz, who joined the company in May 2020 after holding senior leadership positions at Pinnacle Foods and Reckitt Benckiser.
According to a 2018 1,200-person consumer survey by Comax Flavors, taste and flavor were the most important attributes for 65% of consumers when selecting a condiment. This was true across all age groups from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, the survey found.
However, the downside to this cooking hack has been the nutrition trade-off consumers have to make, he said.
There’s been a push in the condiments category to ‘clean up’ products ushering in a new wave of clean label condiments brands such as Sir Kensington’s and Primal Kitchen. The next step in the better-for-you condiments evolution is plant-based variations of the classics, noted Hintz.
In the same consumer survey by Comax Flavors, when asked what they wished mayonnaise had that it currently did not, top responses included: fewer calories/less fat, less salt, and healthier ingredients.
“The white space is that there are so many consumers out there that really want to have a better-for-you product, but it needs to taste great, and how do we marry those two together?”
O’dang Foods’ main point of differentiation is its egg-free formulation creating a 90-calorie product low in saturated fat (1g) and sodium (65-70mg) that still "tastes really great," claimed Hintz.
Its line of mayo comes in three flavors – cucumber dill, lemon garlic, and roasted red pepper – with an SRP of $7.99 per 12-ounce package.
‘We’ve reached a different level of experimentation with folks’
Hintz said the target consumer for its product line is “much broader” than it may first seem on paper (being a vegan product).
“It’s for people who are open to a better-for-you lifestyle but just don’t want to let go of the better-tasting products,” he said.
The egg-free mayo products are also broad from a usage standpoint as the brand encourages consumers to not only use its mayo as a sandwich condiment but also try it as a dip and cooking ingredient.
With new product trial not being a viable option for brands such as O’dang Foods who rely on demoing to drum up brand awareness, Hintz believes that consumers have become more adventurous when it comes to trying new products on their own thanks to the plant-based meat alternatives category.
“We’ve reached a different level of experimentation with folks, and consumers are willing to try a lot more and are receptive to that type of diet and lifestyle, and we certainly fit into that,” he said.
“Those types of evolving trends were the ankle biters if you will, and they’ve grown to be a much bigger piece of the business, and frankly where a lot of the consumer trust is now. And I think it’s exciting to be at the center of that.”
Growing distribution amid a pandemic
Continuing to push for retail distribution will continue to be the brand’s top priority in the coming months, said Hintz.
O’dang Foods Mayo products recently launched in 1,150 Publix stores and online on its refreshed e-commerce website.
“We’re really in the building distribution and awareness mode around those platforms going forward. I think from a timing perspective, it’s good and bad,” he said.
“I think the lull in the retail environment has given us a little bit of time to make sure we perfect our product to be better positioned when, hopefully, this environment changes.”