With more consumers eating at home during the pandemic, meal kits and solutions have become a growing trend. Albertsons is offering those consumers a new option through an expansion of its Open Nature store brand and new frozen skillet meals.
The Open Nature Savory Skillet Meals are in the frozen section of the store, packaged in bright white bags as is the clean label Open Nature way, and currently come in a dozen flavors: prime rib roast with mushroom gravy, Chinese-style beef with broccoli, shrimp scampi with pasta, four cheese mac and cheese, Mexican-style pulled pork with pineapple, beef stew with vegetables, chicken marsala meatballs, chicken tikka masala, pork roast stroganoff, seafood and andouille sausage jambalaya, lobster tortellini, and Texas brisket fried rice.
The meals join some new meal solution offerings from other retailers such as Giant’s Cook-in-Bag line, and ShopRite has been testing new meal solution centers in stores that leverage its store brands.
Albertsons Open Nature flash-frozen skillets are ready in minutes using just one pan to cook. The retailer said the meals are restaurant quality in presentation and taste and only use natural ingredients that are free from antibiotics and artificial ingredients, flavors and colors.
“Our culinary experts have created easy and delicious meal solutions that make all of dinnertime – from prep, to the meal, to cleanup – more enjoyable for everyone,” said Chad Coester, senior vice president of Own Brands. “We know that this year especially, busy families are craving more variety at dinner time, and our savory skillet solutions deliver. While some of the staple flavors will always be available, we will continue to innovate and introduce new meals to help keep dinner new and fresh.”
The products use a nitro flash-freezing technology called enrobin, where the sauce is enrobed around the ingredients and dispenses as it cooks. No defrosting is needed, so these meals can go straight from the freezer to the dinner table in as little as ten minutes.
The skillet meals broaden the Open Nature, free from line of convenient meal solutions, which includes ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat, and ready-to-cook options. The meals are being merchandised in some stores with big supporting signage in a freezer case; the means can be ordered for delivery or pickup through the company's websites and e-commerce apps, too.
Own Brands is the private brand of Albertsons, found exclusively at Albertsons stores, comprised of 20 banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Haggen. The retailer was Store Brands 2020 Retailer of the Year.