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The world’s largest food company is now in the vegan meal-delivery game. Nestlé’s meal plan brand Freshly has announced the Purely Plant menu, which features six new vegan meals.
“We’re thrilled to provide our customers with a convenient way to incorporate minimally processed, plant-based meals into their routines,” Mike Wystrach, Freshly Founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“We recognize that it can be challenging to eat a more plant-based diet without sacrificing on taste; but with the launch of Freshly’s Purely Plant, we’re laser-focused on delivering a variety of delicious, convenient, and better-for-you meal options, while also supporting flexitarians looking to make simple changes towards a more plant-based lifestyle,” he added.
Nestlé acquired Freshly in 2020; the brand ships more than one million meals per week in the contiguous U.S.
Rise of the flexitarian
“When was the last time you ate meat? Last night, last week – even last month?” Nestlé asked on its website about the company’s shift toward more plant-based offerings.
“For many people, a meal without meat isn’t a meal at all, but a growing number of us are choosing to enjoy it less often, as part of a ‘flexitarian’ diet that is both healthier and better for the planet.”
Nestlé says more and more consumers are embracing “the challenge and variety involved in making plant-based meals on a regular basis, without feeling the pressure to commit to never eating meat again.”
According to Nestlé, the flexitarian diet—reducing meat and dairy consumption—is not a fad, but “as valid a lifestyle choice as vegetarian or meat-eater.” In a study conducted by Nestlé in 2017, as many as 30 percent of consumers polled said they are looking for ways to transition to little or no meat at all.
For Freshly, that number is more than double—65 percent of its customers say they’re flexitarian. That number could increase. According to a recent Bloomberg report, the vegan food industry is set to spike 450 percent over the next decade with an anticipated market value jumping from its current $29 billion to more than $160 billion.
“Gone are the days when a craving for that timeless classic – a bacon cheeseburger – meant abandoning your plant-based goals,” Nestlé says. “Last year, Nestlé became the first food and beverage company to develop all three key elements – vegan bacon, cheese and burgers (dubbed the ‘PB triple play’) – to achieve a no-compromise, completely convincing, vegan option.”
Expanding the plant-based market
The brand points to quality improvements as demand rises.
“Today’s meatless meals can be tasty and filled with complex, savory flavors – no longer banished to the darker recesses of your local grocery store.”
Nestlé is the world’s largest food brand, with more than $93 billion in earnings in 2019. It has embraced plant-based with brands including Garden Gourmet, Wunda, and Sweet Earth. Like Freshly, it’s also added vegan and plant-based options to legacy brands including Lean Cuisine and Coffee-Mate. Even its signature candy bar the Nestlé KitKat had a vegan makeover recently.
“Our products meet the demands of flavor-forward consumers who want more plant-based foods, especially millennials who want convenient, real food and flexitarians who want more vegetables and plant-based proteins in their diet,” Sweet Earth Foods co-founder, Kelly Swette explains on the Nestlé website.
The new Freshly vegan meal options include a Rainbow Harvest Plant-Based Burger with Sticky Carrot Jam & Summer Veggie Sauté, and an Unwrapped Salsa Verde Burrito with Purely Plant Crumbles, Indian Spiced Curry Bowl, and a Middle Eastern Falafel Bowl. They will all be available to order through the Freshly website later this month.
Lead image courtesy of Nestle.