Wicked Foods, the plant-based food brand, has announced the summer 2021 launch of its product line in the U.S. The brand was created by world-renowned chefs and brothers Derek and Chad Sarno, who are recognized globally for their innovative approach to chef-driven, plant-based cuisine.
Wicked Foods, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the real-world expression of the Sarno brothers’ personal mission to make a difference in the lives of humans and animals globally through more sustainable and exciting plant-based meal solutions.
The expansion to North America aligns with the changes already taking place among U.S. consumers, with more than 10 million Americans now following a plant-based diet. Additionally, meat consumption is on the decline with nearly one in four (23 percent) Americans saying they cut back on eating meat in the past year due to health and environmental concerns, according to a Gallup poll released in January.
Wicked’s vegan ready-meals and fresh offerings launched with 20 products under the Wicked Kitchen brand in January 2018 at Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in the UK with more than 3,700 stores. The launch of the innovative plant-based meals made headlines for its success and consumer response. Since then, Tesco has extended the line to more than 80 products across the store, with a five-year commitment to offer even more plant-based foods and increase sales of meat alternatives by 300 percent.
Entering the global market, Wicked Foods will continue to capitalize on growing demand for great-tasting foods that are free from animals by increasing availability and providing convenient meal solutions. Driven by the Sarno brothers’ culinary credentials and exacting high standards, Wicked Foods highlights the power of plants in changing the way the world eats by creating best-in-class vegan food for meat eaters.
“Our mission is to help people cook and eat more plants, knowing that we’ll be saving millions and millions of animals each day which improves our planet while supporting our farmers and our health,” said Derek Sarno. “We’ve created the tools, recipes and products to make it simple, flavorful and fun for people to eat more plant-based foods in the UK, and we are excited to now bring these to the U.S., Canada and other European countries.”
Wicked Foods’ expansion is being led by new CEO Pete Speranza, a CPG industry vet and Unovis partner, who will bring his extensive experience and tactical know-how to the brand’s day-to-day operations. Wicked Foods joins other innovative brands in the portfolio of Unovis, a global investment firm disrupting conventional animal agriculture.
“In my nearly 25 years in CPG, I haven’t seen anything quite like what Chad and Derek have been able to create with Wicked Foods,” said Speranza. “Their commitment to producing the most crave-able, sought after, chef-crafted plant-based foods is driving huge demand in the UK, and we know Americans are ready for this genuine and unapologetic approach to plant-based eating. Beyond that, it’s not only vegans that are creating demand but also mainstream consumers who want in on alternative protein options that put flavor first.”
The Sarno brothers, born in New England and authors of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook and co-authors of The Whole Foods Cookbook, are celebrated for applying high-level chef expertise to create innovative plant-based cuisine with bold flavors. The brothers have pioneered techniques utilizing mushrooms as a meaty alternative to animal protein.
As part of the brand launch, Wicked Foods will ask its followers and others wanting to help guide product availability in the U.S. and globally to “plant your flag” to share where they’d like to find the plant-based products. Those who input their city at eatwickedfoods.com will receive a free copy of the Wicked Mushroom Manifesto, a digital collection of the brothers’ most popular recipes that highlight the techniques to transform mushrooms into “meat.”