Available in 12 oz. or 26 oz. sizes, the line of pasta kits includes Chicken Pasta Primavera, Chicken Penne Alla Vodka, Lemon Garlic Chicken Penne, Beef Stroganoff, and Beef Bolognese. The pasta kits are Paleo-certified and gluten-free, brand Co-founder and COO Kevin McCray told FoodNavigator-USA.
In addition to its direct-to-consumer (DTC) option, a 26 oz. size of the Chicken Penne Alla Vodka, Lemon Garlic Chicken Penne, and Beef Stroganoff options will be available at Target starting in late March. Additionally, consumers can buy a 26 oz. size of its Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Pasta Primavera, and Chicken Penne Alla Vodka meal kits at Sprouts.
To further support the line of pasta kits, the brand will be showcasing its products, including its line of entries, sides, stir-fries, soups, gravies, and sauces, at the Natural Products Expo West this week.
Consumers looking for convenience, flavor, and nutrition
Consumers today have access to a wealth of knowledge about healthy living and eating, and food manufacturers can "really empower people to change their habits," McCray said, adding: “We're finding that it is possible to deliver on … convenience, flavor, and high standards for nutrition."
Not only are consumers looking for products that are easy to make that taste delicious, but many also want specific health claims like gluten-free and Paleo-certified, McCray said. With the cauliflower pasta, Kevin’s Natural Foods was able to address these demands while also adding benefits that consumers might not typically think of with pasta.
“We like the idea of people getting servings of vegetables through what they perceive as a grain,” McCray said, explaining the company's cauliflower “pasta eats like a grain, but I'm actually getting three servings of vegetables … per person in a pack [with the pasta kit].”
In addition to releasing the pasta kits, Kevin’s Natural Food also is “upgrading all of [its] grass-fed beef entries to top sirloin,” based on consumer feedback, McCray noted. Kevin’s Natural Food also released a line of sauces in the last quarter to complement these new beef entries, he added.
Expanding in the natural, Paleo category
The pasta meal kits are launching at a time of increased interest in Paleo-friendly products. The global Paleo food market is estimated to be worth $11.2bn in 2023 and is expected to reach $19.4bn in 2033, growing a CAGR of 5.6% during the period, according to a Future Market Insights report. While Kevin’s Natural Food looks to deliver to Paleo-conscious consumers, it doesn’t want to be seen just as a Paleo brand, McCray said.
"We never wanted to be a company ... that's just associated with a particular diet; that's not us. But what we liked about Paleo was the diet itself ... really paid attention to what carbohydrates you put in your body."
Instead, McCray wants his brands and other in the healthy eating space to help decrease the rate of obesity, diabetes, and coronary artery disease through healthier eating and food manufacturing. And everyone in the food and beverage industry has a part to play in promoting healthy eating, McCray added.
“There's a demand to eat healthy; there's a lot of different ways to eat healthy, [and] a lot of different rationale behind how to pull it off. But the most valuable thing for society right now is there is a demand to improve our lives... and everybody's got a role to play in that story, and I hope our role has a really, really positive impact over a long period of time."