Anyone with a picky eater in the house knows the struggle of getting them to eat more of what’s good for them, especially when it comes to healthy protein and the right vegetables. Equipped with this knowledge and knowing that 83% of consumers are adding more plant-based foods into their meals,* our Prego team set out to create a solution.
The sprint for a new sauce
When developing new products, the team uses agile design sprint—working sessions where they brainstorm new ideas and concepts.
“Leading into a sprint, we’re typically assigned pre-work,” said Bryan Cozzi, a Campbell Executive Chef. “We come together with different inspirations like recipes we’ve made, dishes we’ve eaten at restaurants, and products we’ve seen on the market to help formulate what could be the next big thing.”
After a week-long sprint, the team, which included employees from Consumer Insights, Research and Development (R&D), Marketing, and our Consumer Test Kitchen, identified the opportunity to create new plant-based sauces.
“We recognized that interest in plant-based foods is at an all-time high, and with 42% of consumers already admitting to using sauces to hide veggies,* we set out to create a sauce that makes it easy to incorporate veggies and plant protein into meals,” said Chef Bryan.
A chef’s “Gold Standard”
Once a concept is determined, our chefs work to create the “Gold Standard,” a recipe that helps guide the product development team as they work to make a new sauce. The standard includes everything from cooking techniques, flavor attributes, and texture, to how our consumers will cook with the product in their own kitchens.
The recipe goes through several iterations and each ingredient has to earn its way into the final formula. The team works closely with our consumers through co-creations and in-home use tests to understand if the new sauces meet consumers’ expectations on taste, color and texture.
“We explored six different types of proteins and several veggie combos when coming up with the Prego+ collection,” said Patty Capperella, Manager, R&D. “Texture came into play a lot when testing plant proteins, and we were determined to work with a protein that offered clean ingredients while still creating a sauce that lives up to the taste of Prego that’s so well loved.”
Prego’s first-ever vegan meat sauce
The team worked quickly on an expedited timeline, overcoming the remote challenges of the current environment. They utilized “tele-tasting” for quality control and prepared detailed trial plans so our manufacturing facilities could successfully ensure the product met expectations, even without in-person support.
In July, the 6-variety Prego+ collection was released, including Meatless Meat Italian Tomato Sauce, the brand’s first-ever vegan meat sauce with soy-based crumbles and four grams of protein in each serving.
“Teamwork is so important, and the expedited launch of Prego+, including our first vegan meat sauce, would not have been possible without our dedicated team,” said Chef Bryan. “We were constantly challenging each other on this one because at the end of the day we all want to make great tasting food.”
“A little mom win”
Prego+ has already passed the test of many, achieving the Nielsen BASES Superstar status, which recognizes the product’s winning and disruption potential, ranking in the top 10% of all category concepts tested in the innovation. More powerful though is feedback from consumers who tried the product at home. As one consumer shared: “My son didn’t even notice the difference and we all loved it. It felt like a little mom win.”
“Now more than ever parents are looking for quick and simple ways to get more nourishment into their families’ diets,” said Diane George, Senior Marketing Manager, Prego. “Prego+ offers a new way to do that, making life a little easier for families.”
Prego+, the collection of 6 new sauces, includes three with plant protein and three with hidden super veggies like butternut squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, and spinach – blended smooth so you’ll never know the difference. And it’s now available nationwide! Find it today to give your next family meal a plant-based boost!
*Research from Campbell’s CSPACE Consumer Survey fielded in March 2019