One night in winter 2016, working mother Gail Becker decided to make her own healthier pizza for her sons. In 2017, she officially launched CAULIPOWER with a line of cauliflower crust frozen pizzas.
“We launched in 30 Whole Foods stores in the SoPac region in 2017 and we have grown every single year since,” said Becker, who said the brand gained significant traction in 2020/21 as consumers stuck at home turned to comfort foods such as pizza, but were still looking for healthier options within the category.
In September 2020, of the 4,000 Americans surveyed by CAULIPOWER, 67% said they had started buying more frozen food since the beginning of the pandemic, citing health, convenience and reducing food waste, she added.
Currently, CAULIPOWER is the number-one cauliflower crust pizza in the US retail market (total MULO and Natural 52-weeks ending 10-30-22), according to SPINS. Further, Becker pointed out, CAULIPOWER brings more new consumers into the better-for-you pizza category than any other brand (Numerator Shopper Panel; 52 weeks 7.31.22).
But back to that first cauliflower flour that served as Becker’s pizza crust for dinner in 2016... Until then, most people who wanted this dish had to prep the cruciferous veggie -- ricing, draining and baking the crust -- and then make the pizza.
In 2016, Becker recalls, the frozen aisle – specifically frozen pizza– had not been innovated for quite some time. Consumers who wanted to eat cauliflower crust pizza were forced to spend 90 minutes creating cauliflower pizza crust from scratch, “because the industry was not giving them what they so desperately wanted. I like to think that CAULIPOWER answered that call.”
As a result, CAULIPOWER helped create a new category in frozen pizza that is now about 5% of a more than $6 billion total category. “Consumer acceptance was immediate - and is growing. People just want better-for-you versions of their favorite comfort foods, and our mission is simply to give consumers precisely what they want.
“Innovation has always been a big driver of growth for CAULIPOWER - whether that is creating the first stone-fired cauliflower crust or veggie-coated, baked chicken tenders that are the lowest calorie tenders on the market.
“CAULIPOWER is not a company that makes things out of cauliflower,” she maintained. “Our mission is to revolutionize – or rather vegolutionize – America’s favorite foods using the power and magic of vegetables.”
'Food for Delish-A-Tarians'
Cauliflower is currently the predominant starting vegetable and Becker says that a diverse range of other vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. are being explored for their versatile use in plant-powered foods.
Recently, CAULIPOWER conducted a marketing campaign around “Pizza Droop,” which Becker says resonated with consumers. The core of the campaign was derived from the insight that consumers want better-for-you pizza that looks, cooks and tastes just like the pizza they grew up with. “The problem with some better-for-you pizzas is that the crust is floppy,” she observed.
Inflation has become a top concern across the board and Becker says her brand is holding steady due to its original market leadership, size and status. This, she says, “allowed us to leverage our position to create a strong manufacturing and supply chain network, allowing us to remain competitive and offer the best products and pricing to our consumers.”
To keep momentum going in a positive direction and to add a brushstroke of freshness as 2023 unfolds, CAULIPOWER is announcing its new tagline and concept that encapsulates the brand and its mission: 'Food for Delish-A-Tarians.'
It is also moving into new territory with chicken nuggets in a chickpea and cauliflower coating; and one-pan multi-serve frozen meals (under 300 calories), which can be cooked in under ten minutes and include 2-3 servings of veggies; which will be available in retail in 2023.
“For me,” Becker said, “the real success is the impact we have had on consumers. We identified a tremendous gap in the market for better versions of America’s favorite comfort foods that simply wasn’t being met by traditional food companies.”