More grocery meat departments are turning to sous vide for the category’s combination of freshness and convenience, and sous vide suppliers are meeting the demand with new and innovative products.

Kevin’s Natural Foods’ sous vide lineup expanded considerably in 2023, said Kevin McCray, president and co-founder.

Kevin’s, which was bought by Mars Inc. in mid-2023, launched an elevated Grass-fed Beef Entrée offering by upgrading its beef cut from top round to top sirloin. The company also expanded its beef entrée variety, adding flavors like Honey Garlic Beef, Sirloin Beef Tips with Gravy, and Chimichurri Beef.

“Moving to a premium cut and adding new, bold flavors supercharged adoption of our beef entrées with distribution in retail partners like Costco, Whole Foods, Target, Publix, and Walmart, to name a few,” McCray said. Kevin’s also added new stir fry entrée varieties, which have become a staple in the company’s offering at Costco.

New flavors include Beef & Broccoli, Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry, and Mongolian Beef Stir Fry. Each meal includes Kevin’s signature sauce, sous-vide protein, and sous-vide vegetables to create a complete meal that can be prepared in one pan, in less than 10 minutes.

Kevin’s has also been focused on expanding its chicken entrée line to keep it “fresh and exciting,” McCray said.

The company recently launched Orange Chicken and Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Both, McCray said, deliver top flavor while combined with the nutrition attributes the Kevin’s brand has become known for – no refined sugar, chicken raised without antibiotics, and lifestyle diet certifications like Paleo and Gluten Free.

Beyond continuing to expand flavor varieties in current categories, Kevin’s will be using its sous-vide proteins in its new line of frozen, single-serve entrées.

Launching in the spring, the single-serve bowls will give shoppers a complete, ultra-convenient meal using sous-vide proteins and signature sauces complimented by vegetables and starches. All ingredients will be served together in a compostable bowl that can be heated in less than five minutes.

“I feel that our frozen entrée line is a big step forward in delivering on our mission to empower even the busiest people to eat clean without sacrificing flavor.”

As a sub-category of prepared foods, sales of sous-vide brands are difficult to track at retail, McCray said.

But, speaking for Kevin’s, he said sous vide has enjoyed both increased distribution and velocities.

“Anecdotally, we are observing that the awareness of sous-vide among general market consumers has grown since we hit the scene in 2019. The popularity of sous-vide paired with the unique demand for healthy eating has helped the Kevin’s brand tell our story around empowering people to eat clean without sacrificing flavor.”

Mars’ purchase of Kevin’s will help the company grow its sous vide lineup even more, McCray said.

“Mars brings 100% alignment on our business purpose and core values along with decades of manufacturing experience to the table. These capabilities will empower Kevin’s to continue to innovate even as the scale of the manufacturing operations grow.”

This article is an excerpt from the January 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Sous Vide feature and more in the digital edition here.