USA – Gardein, a brand of Conagra Brands, has earned yet another spot in the growing meat alternative market with the launch of the Ultimate Plant-Based Burger across the US.

According to the brand, the new plant-based burger looks, cooks and smells like real meat, and contains no soy ingredients and GMOs.

Gardein’s Ultimate Plant-Based Burger is made from pea protein and provides 19 grams of protein per 4 oz. serving.

“If you’re going to be a leader in meatless meals, serving a great-tasting burger is a must,” said Tara Rozalowsky, VP/GM for Gardein.

“We’re incredibly proud of the delicious, meaty taste of our new Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Burger, and we can’t wait for consumers to fire up the grill and enjoy their first bite.” 

The Ultimate Plant-Based Burger is the latest addition to Gardein’s menu of plant-based alternatives to meat and fish. Gardein’s offerings include Meatless Meatballs, Chick’n Tenders, Crabless Cakes and more.

The Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based burger will be sold in the freezer sections of grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide. A six-pack will be available for a MSRP of $12.99, while a two-pack will be sold for $4.49.

Meat substitutes are seeing healthy growth against increased consumer demand for plant-based products as a result of increased inclination of healthy lifestyles as well as environmental reasons.

IRI data shows that almost all plant-based categories posted gains, including plant-based milk, yogurt, whipped cream and ice cream.

However, burgers are considered as a major point of entry to the meat-alternatives category for many consumers. According to a recent IRI report, 70% of new buyers make a burger their first purchase.

The overall retail sales of plant-based foods in the United States alone have grown 11% in the past year, to US$4.5 billion, more than five times the 2% growth rate the retail food market has seen.

This is according to a July report by the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. The report also says that since April 2017, total plant-based food sales have increased 31%, with unit sales rising 8.5%, in contrast to the flat rate for the broader market.

With recent reports projecting solid growth in the plant-based food sector, the trend is also expected to mount pressure on many traditional food and beverage giants and increasingly steers where investments are made.