US-based Hormel Foods has launched a meat-alternative brand in the shape of Happy Little Plants.

The Austin, Minnesota-based branded meat specialist – behind products such as Spam, Jennie-O and Applegate – announced the launch at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston yesterday (4 September).

It said the initiative, mooted back in June, is the first project under its Cultivated Foods umbrella.

Jim Splinter, group vice president of corporate strategy, said: “Hormel Foods has one of the most admired brand portfolios in the industry, led by our legacy of industry-leading innovation. We are continuing to build an organisation that has the agility and adaptability to create products to align with today’s dynamic marketplace.

“We understand consumers across a spectrum of lifestyles are adopting more flexible attitudes and behaviours when thinking about food, especially given the wide variety of products available in the marketplace. We intend to focus on all the ways plants can help consumers find alternatives in their food routines.”

Hormel said the new brand is part of the company’s plant-based and blended protein innovation efforts which began in 2014 with the launch of the Hormel Fuse burger in the company’s foodservice business.

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Its product offerings have expanded to include additional plant-based pizza topping items produced at its Burke Corporation subsidiary and the Applegate Blend Burger, a product that blends organic meat with organic mushrooms.

Happy Little Plants products launched this week and have distribution in “select retail outlets”, with further expansion planned in the coming months. 

Its flagship product is a ground plant-based protein alternative containing 20 grams of non-GMO soy protein. It contains 180 calories, no preservatives and is gluten-free.

See just-food’s analysis – Eyeing alternatives – meat companies with stakes in meat-free