“A lot of people divide this category into veggie lovers and meat lovers,” said Sergio Eleuterio, general manager of Springboard Brands at the Kraft Heinz Co., during a presentation at Expo West. “We believe, and the numbers will tell, that most of the market, the future of this market is in the middle, is what the industry calls flexitarians. People who buy Boca also buy meat.”
Such mostly millennial “balancers” are driving growth of plant-based foods and beverages, he said. To appeal to this demographic and stand out among hundreds of meat alternatives, new Boca products feature an improved taste and texture and a clean packaging design. The company also plans to expand the brand into new product categories including soy-free falafel bites, Eleuterio said.
“At Boca, we want to make sure we are offering options,” he said.
To create the new recipes, Eleuterio said the company worked with suppliers to improve the texture of the soy.
“Texture will carry the flavor, so we felt if it was too mushy, too watery, then the flavor got bland and boring,” he said. “We worked with our flavor houses to redevelop the flavor for the whole line.”
The Springboard platform was created to develop brands within one of four pillars: natural and organic; specialty and craft; health and performance; and experiential brands. The company is seeking to partner with start-ups through an incubator program while accelerating brands within its portfolio.
Another project underway is Jell-O Play, a product line set to launch in the second quarter that will reposition the Jell-O brand not as a snack or dessert but a “creative opportunity,” Eleuterio said.