Composite by Kristen Hom
Frozen meals get a pretty bad rap these days. In this era when eating “real” food is a major priority for consumers, microwaving a plastic container of pallid-looking turkey and mashed potatoes with ingredients like disodium guanylate and L-Cysteine Monohydrochloride is about the last thing many of us want to do. Thankfully, however, there’s a whole new market emerging: healthy, natural frozen meals, made by startup companies that prioritize healthy eating and quality ingredients. We’ve rounded up nine of these companies, and they should definitely be on your radar.
This family business was launched in 1987, and is named after founders Rachel and Andy Berliner’s daughter, Amy. All of their frozen meals are made with organic vegetables; hormone-free dairy; and high-quality grains, beans, and pastas. Best-selling products include gluten-free vegetable pot pie, rice crust cheese pizza, veggie burgers, 12 types of chili, and frozen soups.
Annie’s is perhaps best known for its snacks and non-frozen items like macaroni and cheese, but its new line of frozen foods carries on the company’s philosophy of using only simple, natural ingredients with “no artificial anything.” Current frozen offerings are limited to mini pizza bagels and pizza poppers, but expect more to come.
Babeth’s Feast / Facebook
Babeth’s Feast prepares restaurant-quality healthy meals (with plenty of vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options), flash-freezes them, and ships them anywhere in the country for a $15 flat fee. Popular entrées include beef bourguignon, rack of lamb with red wine sauce, osso buco, coq au vin, lobster risotto, and quiche.
Evol sells a wide variety of single serve meals (including sriracha chicken; fire-grilled chicken poblano; and roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and whole grains); burritos, tacos, breakfast items, quesadillas, and a ling of gluten-free meals. Eggs are cage-free, meat is antibiotic-free, and none of its offerings contain GMOs or artificial ingredients.
These fresh-frozen entrées are made with wholesome ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or hydrogenated fats; and they're made with organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. Food items include chicken chili verde, quinoa and vegetable enchiladas, red wine braised beef and polenta, and oat bran and ricotta pancakes. Investors include Derek Jeter and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
LYFE Kitchen is a growing chain of healthy fast-casual restaurants, and its frozen meal arm is also getting a lot of notice. The products contain no preservatives and contain less than 500 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium each. Popular items include a farmers market frittata, chicken chili verde, and sweet corn chowder.