Offering a diverse line of paleo, keto-friendly and gluten-free certified products, Kevin’s Natural Foods (Kevin’s) has made it its mission to help customers eat clean, delicious foods that can be prepared in minutes. This wide-ranging line of recipes and products, utilizing restaurant-quality ingredients is available at an accessible price point both online and in-store at over 17,000 coveted retail locations, including Whole Foods, Target and Costco. Within just three years of launching, the brand has already helped millions of Americans change their perspective on healthy eating, by making healthy diet choices accessible to all.
Sharing his story on how healthy eating helped to change his life, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Kevin McCray, explains how the concept behind the business was born: “I struggled for years with a severe auto-immune disorder. Going from being happy and healthy to in-and-out of the hospital, unable to find a conventional form of medicine that helped me consistently, really threw my life off balance. This was until I discovered the power of clean eating. I switched to a diet rich in whole foods and avoided refined sugars. This helped me to reclaim my energy and my health, enabling me to live my best life again.” He continues: “Seeing the difference that a clean diet made to my life, I was inspired to help others in a similar position, and that is where the idea for the business started.”
Meals in minutes
Today, the company has developed a wide-ranging product portfolio including sous-vide protein entrées, heat and eat sides, cauliflower-based pasta entrées and a complementary line of cooking sauces. Kevin’s avoids refined sugars and artificial ingredients whilst remaining focused on delivering flavor, offering a variety of delicious recipes inspired by cuisines from around the world. All products are made in the company production facilities in Stockton, California, utilizing a kettle-cooking operation for hot-filling sauces and potatoes alongside a robust, sous-vide operation for cooking proteins and vegetables in a hot water bath.
When it comes to product innovation, much of the inspiration for Kevin’s products has been taken from observing restaurant cooking methods, alongside the extensive chef and restaurateur experience of company co-founder Dan Costa. The process of browning sous-vide meats in a pan which is then deglazed with finishing sauces is a popular method used in restaurant kitchens for preparing orders quickly without sacrificing flavor. These methods have inspired the format for some of Kevin’s own products, enabling customers with busy lifestyles to prepare healthy, restaurant-quality meals in minutes.
Full of flavor
The company recently launched the world’s first line of paleo-certified pasta entrées, combining cauliflower-based pasta, sous-vide meat and a signature pasta sauce packed with three servings of vegetables. This new line of products puts a healthy spin on classics such as beef stroganoff, chicken penne alla vodka and lemon garlic chicken penne, all prepared in just five minutes. In addition to this, Kevin’s has recently announced the introduction of its ready-to-cook meat entrées for April next year, just in time for the summer. These 30oz portions contain raw, marinated chicken breast alongside a pouch of one of Kevin’s signature sauces, used for marinating, dipping or simmering. These products are designed specifically for customers wanting to cook their own proteins on the BBQ, stove, or in the oven and will include flavors such as Korean BBQ, sun dried tomato pesto and Hawaiian BBQ chicken.
Alongside providing customers with its exceptional products, the business also takes its commitment to sustainability seriously and has adopted a number of green initiatives to limit the impact of the company
on the planet. For example, it has recently started rolling out new sustainable packaging, moving away from the use of plastic trays towards recycled cardboard boxes and compostable trays for its in-store entrées. Furthermore, the company has adopted new packaging for its e-commerce products, utilizing thin plastic pouches as an alternative to plastic trays and sleeves. This means that a higher quantity of product can be packed into smaller boxes for shipping. In addition to this, Kevin’s has switched to dry ice packaging as a more environmentally friendly option for keeping online orders fresh. It is estimated that, following these initial swaps, the company will reduce its plastic use by a total of 894,548 pounds by 2023.
Humble & Hungry
Shedding light on the crucial role that people play in the company, Kevin McCray explains: “The people side of the business is the most important aspect of our company. Every day we make a conscious effort to act according to our internal motto, ‘Humble & Hungry.’ To this end, it is not rare in our company to see our leadership pouring coffee for employees, picking up trash, or parking at the end of the parking lot. We celebrate work and this motto informs many business decisions that promote a Humble & Hungry culture at Kevin’s.” He goes on to explain a key example of this: “At Kevin’s, every employee is a shareholder regardless of rank. This promotes a sense of ownership and pride in the business, above and beyond a traditional compensation model. Ultimately, we are all aligned and working towards the same goal: empowering people to eat clean without sacrificing flavor.”
The health standards of Kevin’s products appeal to and satisfy the dietary requirements of a wide-ranging customer base, including both individuals who must adhere to a strict lifestyle diet for health reasons as well as those who are simply wanting to eat better. The market is experiencing a growing demand for specific lifestyle diets such as paleo, keto and gluten-free, as well as a general shift towards clean ingredient profiles and ingredients which avoid refined sugar, synthetic preservatives and harmful fats. As health and wellbeing continue to become an increasingly prevalent consideration for many people, these shifts in the market have helped to drive customers towards Kevin’s products, putting the business in a strong position to continue on a trajectory of steady growth over the next few years.
Clean eating culture
Looking towards the future of the company, Kevin’s hopes to continue expanding its product lines and culinary shortcuts, to the point where the company is helping the majority of US households to eat clean on a daily basis. In the long-term, the company hopes to see rates of diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease start a consistent annual decline. The business is striving to make meal planning and meal prep easier for customers from all walks of life, aspiring to make a substantial contribution to a society-wide shift towards healthier eating habits and lifestyle decisions.