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Unboxed: 4 trends inspiring innovation in the frozen aisle

Ultra-tasty alt-meat meals, deliciously tantalizing global flavors, swoon-worthy nondairy indulgences and gluten-free gourmet pastas—this is not your grandmother's frozen food aisle.

Who would have thought that the once ho-hum frozen aisle would become a fountain of innovation?

Yesterday's mushy peas are today's creative, health-conscious and palate-delighting frozen foods, and we suspect that this grocery department still has a lot of innovation in the pipeline with regard quality ingredients, exciting flavor profiles and creative and convenient options for consumers.

Below are four trends pushing the envelope in the frozen aisle today, and that certainly will continue to do so in the future.

For more insights, trends and product innovations in frozen, watch the on-demand replay of the Discover Frozen: Trends and Innovative Products session at Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week

1. Plant-based meat.

Meat analogues are becoming more and more creative in terms of form and function. Many brands are moving into the heat-and-eat frozen aisle, giving home cooks more options for quick and tasty plant-based meals.

From left to right: Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Turkey Burger, Jack and Annie’s Savory Breakfast Jack Sausage, Daring Foods Original Breaded Pieces. 


2. Global flavors.

Global flavors such as West African are delighting palates in new and exciting ways thanks to natural brands that showcase the cuisines their founders grew up with. Brands are using authentic ingredients and spices to give shoppers access to flavor-packed offerings like never before.

From left to right: Global Village Foods Ethiopian Vegan Lentil Combo, Egunsi Foods Lemongrass Chicken Pepper Soup, Ayo Foods Cassava Leaf Soup with Chicken.

3. Plant-based desserts.

The demand for delicious plant-based frozen desserts that can hold their own against real dairy products continues to grow. We’re seeing innovation with ingredients including oatmilk and chickpea, as well as an increase in formats that differ from pints such as bars.

From left to right: Forager Project Bittersweet Chocolate Frozen Dessert, Must Love Oats Dipped Vanilla, SweetPea Cookies 'n Cream Chickpea Ice Cream.

4. Gluten-free frozen pasta.

Pasta isn’t made from wheat anymore—at least not in the frozen case; ingredient innovations and novel pasta shapes are shaking up this category. .

From left to right: Cappello's Almond Flour Five-Cheese Ravioli, Caulipower Cauliflower Linguine, Taste Republic Cauliflower Gnocchi.
natural products expo virtual logoView the on-demand replay of the Discover Frozen: Trends and Innovative Products session in its entirety here. Check out upcoming Natural Products Expo Virtual events and learn more about the platform here.
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