August 1, 2023
Will we ever get tired of talking about all the innovations flooding traditional store aisles stocked with pantry goods, snacks and frozen foods? We doubt it!
Americans may have been forced back into their kitchens in 2020, but that doesn’t mean they were content to rely on the culinary repository of (dare we say?) ho-hum products that often characterized the pantries and freezers of yesteryear. On the contrary! Once all the sourdough loaves had been baked, consumers turned their creativity and appetites to new ways to jazz up their dining repertoires in far less time and with considerably less hassle. Needless to say, brands responded with an explosion of inspired options that turned the center store aisles into innovation pipelines—and they haven’t stopped since.
Today’s brands are bringing health, creativity, integrity and fun to grocery aisles and filling them with convenient, ready-to-eat solutions for people who have since returned to their offices and pre-pandemic lives. Brands are also leaning into trends that increasingly matter to consumers: sourcing new and innovative ingredients, embracing nutritional attributes and dietary demands, supporting sustainability and celebrating globally inspired flavors and traditions.
The following pantry essentials don’t just make a meal, they are the meal!
Acremade Power Protein Scramble
The dry breakfast aisle is dominated by cereals or products that need plenty of preparation. But AcreMade’s new line of Plant-Based Scramble Cups offers a protein-packed breakfast innovation that combines convenience with the growing trend of nutrient-dense, plant-based eating. With two egg equivalents per cup, this Power Protein SKU also boasts 15 grams of protein derived from pea protein, pea starch and lupin flour. Free from the top nine allergens and shelf-stable, the dry-storage cups can be easily prepared in minutes—just mix, heat and enjoy. SRP: $3.99
4Sisters Chelsea Cheese Cheesy Brown Rice
Move over mac ‘n’ cheese, this whole-grain rice dish—with the 100% Whole Grain stamp to prove it—offers families a heat-and-eat solution to the pantry doldrums. Non-GMO Project Verified and gluten free, it has 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per two-serving, Certified BPA-Free pouch. This cheesy feast is ready in just 60 seconds and is made from U.S.-grown rice from Certified Women-Owned (and sister-owned) brand 4Sisters, a vertically integrated agriculture company dedicated to sustainably grown rice from seed to plate. SRP: $3.49
Abokichi Abo Miso Soup with Black Pepper
Instant miso soup mix might not feel like a big revelation, but this one represents the brand’s goal of reducing 1.2 tons of food waste this year, thanks in part to the nutrient-rich sake kasu (the lees leftover from making sake) that it sources from Izumi (a local, Toronto, Canada-area brewery) and upcycles into this umami-rich soup. Plus, the product is lower in sodium than most instant miso soups, as well as Upcycled Food Association Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. SRP: $8.59
Somos Mexican Street Corn White Rice
Somos’ ready-to-heat rice was inspired by its founders’ nostalgia for Mexican street food esquites—a dish typically prepared from roasted or steamed corn. For this interpretation, the corn is fire roasted and mixed with white rice and epazote, a leafy, aromatic herb often used in Latin American cuisine. Chile de arbol adds a slight kick to this Non-GMO Project Verified, globally inspired cuisine. SRP: $3.79
Elokua Pozolazo Traditional Flavor Instant Pozole
Mexican pozole is one of those dishes for which everyone’s mother’s recipe is the best. But for a quick pozole fix when mom isn’t around, consumers can turn to this Mexican brand for a hearty bowl of traditional pork, corn, guajillo pepper and ancho pepper stew. Note, don’t let the “cup-o” format fool you, this clean-ingredient soup has a simple ingredient list, as well as 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein. SRP: $4.49
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