US retail sales of frozen food hit $66.4bn in the 52-week period ending Dec. 26, 2021, a 1% increased from the same period last year and up 23% from 2019, according to IRI sales data.
In its full-year 2021 earnings report, Tattooed Chef increased revenues by 32.2% to $52.3m in Q4 2021 compared to Q4 2020 as a result of a massive wave of new product introduction in frozen plant-based bowls, entrées, and burritos along with thousands of new points of distribution and additional production capacity coming online. The brand is now available in over 15,000 retail doors across mass, club, and grocery retail channels.
"We’re the fastest growing frozen entrée brand today in plant-based foods," Tattooed Chef chief growth officer Matt Williams told FoodNavigator-USA. "We’re on a rocket ship, and we love the fact that we’re introducing plant-based foods to so many new consumers."
According to the company, citing IRI/SPINS data, it has become the fastest-growing frozen health and wellness brand and the No. 1 health and wellness brand in frozen breakfast.
Tattooed Chef: from Italian foods importer to public frozen foods company
Originally founded in 2009 as Ittella Parent – an importer of Italian vegetable products – the company transitioned into the private label food category and began producing frozen products in 2015.
Around the same time, Sarah Galletti, the inspiration behind the brand name “Tattooed Chef” and creative director of the brand, led the company’s transition from a producer of private label frozen vegetables to a branded, frozen plant-based meals and snacks company.
Tattooed Chef went public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) deal between Forum Merger II and Ittella International in October 2020 and began publicly trading on the NASDAQ in November 2020.
Total addressable market: 115 million+ consumers
Williams said that the company has identified its core consumer as the "plant-based intender" which encompasses vegans and vegetarians to pescatarians and flexitarians.
"There’s about 55 million people out there that identify with those diets. There’s another 65 million that just want to eat less meat," added Williams.
New product innovation: Bars and chips
The company is striving to serve customers with a plant-based option for all eating occasions and already has a broad offering in breakfast, lunch, and dinner with its 45+ frozen entrées, family meals, and sides.
While the company intends to continue driving innovation in the frozen meals category, it has recently expanded into snack offerings with its chilled plant-based bars and soon-to-launch snacking chips, added Williams.
"We saw an opportunity for a low-sugar, better-tasting refrigerated bar. That's our first step outside of the frozen aisle," said Williams.
In May 2021, the company acquired two manufacturing facilities in New Mexico including a tortilla manufacturing pant, which Williams said will be utilized to "bring great-tasting chips to the snacking aisle very soon."