Prepared Foods profiles new retail prepared meal, entrée solutions.


On-Trend Eating

Nestlé USA, Solon, Ohio, introduced 10 new varieties to its new Life Cuisine entrée and side dish line. Officials note Life Cuisine recipes are inspired by four popular ways of eating: high protein, meatless, gluten free and low carb lifestyle.

"People are looking for variety in foods that fit their different lifestyles while delivering on taste and value," said Megan Smargiasso, Brand Manager, Life Cuisine. "For Life Cuisine, we are using a fast innovation model to launch new products quickly with fast prototyping and consumer testing, so we can meet those needs with relevant, on-trend meals."

New items include a Triple Cheese Macaroni & Cheese Bowl made with Banza chickpea pasta; and a Pasta Bolognese made with Banza chickpea pasta. Also new are a Cauliflower Crust Chicken Mozzarella Piada (sandwich) and Cauliflower Crust Chicken Bacon Ranch Piada. New to the line is a gluten-free Cauliflower Crust Three Meat Pizza. Other new bowls include Teriyaki Chicken Bowl and a Pesto Cauliflower Gnocchi Bowl. There’s also a Meatlovers Zoodles Bowl and a Beef with Broccoli Bowl.

New Life Cuisine items are now available at retailers nationwide for an MSRP of $4.29-$4.69.


Partners in Pizza

Banza Chickpea-based Pizzas

Chickpea comfort food specialist Banza, Detroit, expanded its line of frozen chickpea-based pizzas with two new varieties: Supreme, and Plant-Based Cheese.

Officials say new Banza Supreme (a vegetarian option) features a smoky San Marzano tomato sauce, a blend of dairy-based mozzarella, provolone, and white cheddar cheese, red onions, fire-roasted green and red peppers. In partnership with Beyond Meat, the new pizza comes topped with Beyond Sausage Italian Crumbles.

An entirely vegan pie, Banza Plant-Based Cheese comes with a San Marzano tomato sauce infused with caramelized onion and roasted garlic. It’s topped with a melty, creamy plant-based mozzarella from Follow Your Heart, Canoga Park., Calif.

"Chickpeas, and more broadly beans, are one of the best foods for human health and the environment," said Brian Rudolph, Banza CEO & Co-Founder. "Since launching our crust, we've hoped to create a vegan cheese pizza. Consumer research echoed that sentiment, along with an interest in supreme. While we aren't comfortable using meat, we're filling the void using a plant-based option. We created these two new varieties to give people another way to enjoy their favorite foods, all while eating more chickpeas."


Growing Lines

Saffron Road Artisan Wraps

This summer proved to be quite a busy season for American Halal Company Inc. In both June and September, the Stamford, Conn., firm announced two major expansions to its Saffron Road line.

The latest news involves three Artisan Wraps (pictured), which combine an ancient flatbread tradition with whole ingredients, fragrant spices and rich flavors of South Asia. Launching October 2021 were new Bean & Cheese, Samosa with Chickpeas, and Butter Chicken.

Officials note that Saffron Road’s frozen Artisan Wraps feature whole plant-based proteins (such as chickpeas and black-eyed beans) or antibiotic-free chicken.

“We are entering a new phase of the pandemic, and while many meals remain at-home, consumers across the country are juggling busy schedules, carving out a need for quick, satisfying, and healthy innovations for the on-the-go consumer,” says Chef John Umlauf, Saffron Road’s senior vice president of culinary operations. 

All three Artisan Wraps are available at select Kroger stores nationwide (MSRP $3.29):

Saffron Road’s first news involved three new frozen meals and three new frozen family meals. The frozen entrees were Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken, Butter Chicken, and Sweet & Sour Chicken (representing the brand’s first foray into Chinese cuisine). Saffon Road’s new family sized offerings are Chicken Pad Thai, Chicken Biryani and Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken.


New Name in Entrées

Path of Life Organic Grains & Broccoli Frozen Entrée

Already known for frozen grain blends, Path of Life, Naperville, Ill., branched into frozen entrees with an Organic Grains & Broccoli with Hearty Tomato Pesto Seasoning.

The broccoli and grain-based entree comes fully seasoned and features an organic grain blend of brown rice, white and red quinoa, organic broccoli and onions. Officials say the nut-free, vegan tomato pesto seasoning is made with nutritional yeast and sundried tomato powder to “achieve a rich, pesto flavor.” This new entree is fully plant-based and certified USDA Organic, gluten-free certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Officials say the “vegetable-forward” entree debuted this fall at Costco Wholesale locations in the Texas. Each bag contains five servings and retails for $10.99. Officials say there are 12g of plant-powered protein per serving.

"As the demand for both better-for-you and plant-based foods grow, we want to continue providing convenient meal solutions that meet our customers' needs for wholesome products that taste good, are made good, and are good for them," said Audrea Fulton, Path of Life senior vice president of growth at Path.