Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms is currently one of the most prominent brands on the veggie burger market. Their veggie burgers have long been popular with vegetarians and are often served as the vegetarian option at backyard barbecues.
However, despite their significant market share, MorningStar Farms (and other traditional veggie burger producers) faces strong competition from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat – two companies that have produced beef substitutes that taste almost identical to real beef.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that MorningStar Farms is on the verge of launching their own line of 100 percent vegan meat substitutes that promises to be just as good as the real thing. In addition to offering burger patties, their Incogmeato line will offer imitation Chik’n Nuggets and Chik’n Tenders. All three products will be made from non-GMO soy.
The “beef” patties will be sold in the refrigerated meat section (like the Beyond Burger), and the “chicken” products will be sold in the frozen food section, next to the real chicken products. This strategic store placement positions the products a viable alternative to actual meat – compared to traditional meat substitutes, which were often grouped together in the health food section of the grocery store. It also makes the products easier for flexitarians to locate in the grocery store – tempting them to choose a vegetarian option instead of reaching for their usual meat products.
In a FoodIngredientsFirst article about the Incogmeato launch, Sara Young, the MorningStar Farms General Manager, makes it clear that the brand is hoping to appeal to a flexitarian audience with their new products: “We know that about three-fourths of Americans are open to plant based eating, yet only one in four actually purchase a plant based alternative… So, the intent is fully there, but it hasn’t necessarily been followed with action. We know the number one barrier to trying plant based protein is taste. These consumers are still seeking the amazing taste, texture, and sizzling qualities of meat but want a better alternative for themselves and the planet.”
While the packaging of the Incogmeato brand has a slick, professional looking design that appears more modern than the traditional MorningStar Farms packaging, the product name is drawing some early ridicule due to the fact that its name is a pun on the word “incognito,” meaning to conceal one’s identity. A post on The Take Out wondered, “Did the marketing team at Kellogg sincerely think this was a good idea? Or was it one of those cases where everyone was locked in a single room and not allowed to leave, even to go to the bathroom, until they agreed on a name?” And Thrillist said, “Incogmeato is such a corny name for a plant based meat product that all I can do is admire it.”
While Incogmeato is not the first player in the rush to offer realistic meat substitutes, they will be the largest and if their products taste as good as claimed this will give them a strong advantage in retaining their market share as the premium supplier of vegetarian products.
The Incogmeato line is scheduled to launch in early 2020.