So Pinnacle foods (which makes most of its sales from TV dinners like Hungryman and various frozen fish brands) bought out Gardein back in 2014, and perhaps at the worst time of all - 2016 has been pretty much the shittiest year for everyone I know - they’re finally making major changes to the company.
Most people have already heard the sad news, but Gardein is discontinuing 17 different products in Canada starting 2017. The only Gardein products that will be restocked in Canada next year are the Beefless Ground, Fish Filets, Mandarin Orange Chicken and 7 Grain Tenders.
And if you missed the update, not only are they pulling out 17 different products from Canada (some of which might also be discontinued within the US, but they haven’t said which yet - only that “this will affect the US as well”), they’re planning on introducing a 12.5% price increase on the remaining products come next February - an increase that will likely be seen in both countries.
In which case… OK, correct me if I’m wrong. but Gardein is THE best selling meat alternative brand in Canada. It’s in over 22,000 grocery stores and I don’t know a single person who avoids meat and DOESN’T love Gardein. Some of my friends would marry Gardein if they were a person. The original CEO reported that they pulled in 100 MILLION dollars in sales every year. Every news source has reported a gradual but prevalent decrease in consumer interest towards meat and dairy in general. And those companies have even come out with their own animal-free alternatives in response to this, like when Hellman’s introduced a vegan mayo after their recent embarrassing hissy-fit with Hampton Creek about what constituted as “mayonnaise”.
So why the Fishless fuck is their parent company claiming they need to increase prices and discontinue 80% of their products in order to “balance sustainability” of the brand? To me, this just seems like a meat-based food conglomerate once again realizing that the plant-based market is growing, using their millions to buy out the competition, and then SHRINKING that competition in hopes that consumers will go back to eating animals.
When are they going to realize that the plant-based market is going to continue growing no matter how many brands they cripple? Meat production supergiants keep treating meat-alternative companies as if they’re simply part of a health food trend instead of a huge consumer shift away from animal products. It’s getting harder and harder to find companies out there stocking vegan food up in supermarkets because meat producers are getting salty that it sells, and are willing to increase prices exponentially to kill the meat analogue market.
I guess I’m mostly angry because I was really hoping the CLEAR increase in demand for vegan and vegetarian foods would result in a gradual decrease in cost across the board. Being interested in meat free alternatives doesn’t mean you’re middle class. If you’re like me, you’re a poor as fuck vegan, and it’s really easy to get your jimmies rustled when people assume you will - or even can - pay more just because you have ethical boundaries on what you’re willing to eat.
TL;DR - your meat free foods are gonna cost about a dollar more because meat producers are butthurt, and I think it’s kind of shitty.