Food Business News - April 19, 2016 - (Page 28)

Modern Table planting the seeds of a trend Meal kit company is a pioneer in the emerging pulse-based pasta category WALNUT CREEK, CALIF. - While a handful of brands at this year's Natural Products Expo West in March debuted pastas formulated with beans, peas or chickpeas, Walnut Creek-based Modern Table had a finger on the pulse pasta trend two years before. "Pulse pastas have significantly increased," said Jamie Thomas, co-founder and head of product development at Modern Table. "When we launched at Expo (West) two years ago, to my knowledge there was no one else in that space. Last year, there were two competitors. This year there were at least five and likely more. The competitive landscape has changed dramatically since we launched." The brand's bean-based pastas and meal kits are gluten-free and vegetarian with 5 to 7 grams of fiber and 12 to 20 grams of protein per serving. Meal kit varieties include Italian, Mediterranean, pesto, Southwest, teriyaki, and macaroni and cheese, each featuring a dry mix of pasta made from lentils or navy beans, vegetables and a sauce or seasoning packet. The company also offers bean pasta meal starters, including confetti, lentil penne and mixed lentil penne. This year at Expo West, the company introduced four products, including cheddar broccoli meal kit, creamy mushroom meal kit, lentil rotini pasta, and lentil elbow pasta. Modern Table was founded in 2013 by four mothers with experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. Cofounders Gulbin Hoeberechts and Jennifer Eiseman previously worked at Nestle USA; Elizabeth Cole held a management position at a wine company; and Ms. Thomas was a senior food technologist at H.J. Heinz Co. "We have a company sponsor that brought us together and gave us the tools that we needed to be able to bring this product to market," Ms. Thomas told Food Business News. "We quickly formed as a team and identified this opportunity and were given the ability to develop this brand, bring this product to market and build this business." Modern Table products are sold nationally in such retailers as Whole Foods Market, Inc., Target Corp., Kroger Co. and others. The brand saw unit sales Modern Table was founded in 2013 by (adults from left) Gulbin Hoeberechts, Jennifer Eiseman, Elizabeth Cole and Jamie Thomas when considering what their children would eat when developing their pastas. Modern Table's meal kits are gluten-free, nonG.M.O. and vegetarian. nearly triple last year, and even more growth is expected in the year ahead as distribution continues to expand. In an interview, Ms. Thomas shared insights behind pioneering a new product category. Food Business News: What drove the insights behind launching Modern Table Meals? Jamie Thomas: We identified this kind of unsolved dilemma for consumers; that they wanted something they could feel good about feeding their family, that was convenient, and that their family would actually love. It didn't start as being pasta, per se. We had this problem in our lives and thought that there had to be something to solve it. So then we started to look at what are the really great, healthy foods that are intrinsically good for you ... and that's when we identified beans. And we thought what would be really great is if we could provide those beans in a format kids will eat. Kids love pasta. So that's the insight that drove us to bean-based pasta. What inspired the initial flavor varieties? Ms. Thomas: We wanted something that gave a nod toward global flavors, yet was still really approachable to families. We knew things like Moroccan or Thai or Indian might be a little bit unapproachable for some families. We wanted something our kids would eat. What are your nutritional criteria for the products? Ms. Thomas: We weren't really developing this from a nutrition panel benefit 28 FOODBUSINESS NEWS ® April 19, 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - April 19, 2016

Food Business News - April 19, 2016
Fresh, authentic a focus for Unilever
Clash over child nutrition programs may lie ahead
Dairy Business News - Dairy flavors grow ever more creative
Table of Contents
Web Contents
Editorial - Growth of organic category suggests still greater attention ahead
Monogram Foods acquires appetizer company
‘Premiumization’ opportunities abound
Preferred Popcorn picks up organic popcorn maker
Wal-Mart to transition to cage-free eggs by 2025
AdvancePierre Foods files for i.p.o.
Dr Pepper Snapple increases sports nutrition stake
Hormel Foods launches clean label effort
Identifying the X-factor in food startups
Food service operators betting big on buns
ConAgra Foods earnings reflect focus on execution
Mondelez to partner with e-commerce firm Alibaba
Modern Table planting the seeds of a trend
Market Insight - Dairy still under pressure
Company Profile - Flowers focused on improved margins
Flavor Trends - The next level for dressings, sauces and marinades
Ingredient Innovations - Fiber's global reach
Ingredient suppliers emphasize specialized fibers
Algae venture to invest in or buy food companies
New Food Products
Ingredient Market Trends - Large supplies will weigh on grain and oilseeds prices into next year
Ingredient Markets
Supplier Innovations and News
Ad Index
Food Business in the News

Food Business News - April 19, 2016