Gardein (a portmanteau of garden and protein) is a product line of meat-free foods made by Garden Protein International in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. In November 2014, Pinnacle Foods purchased Gardein for $154 million.[clarification needed] Founder and chief executive Yves Potvin stayed on with the company, and has stated that the buy-out assisted Gardein to access more capital and expand manufacturing facilities to Hagerstown, MD. On 10/26/2018, Conagra acquired Pinnacle Foods
All Gardein products are vegan, and they are certified by Vegan Action. Most of Gardein’s products are certified Kosher pareve by Kosher Check (The Orthodox Rabbinical Council of BC). In 2014, they added gluten-free beefless products to their range in response to the expanding gluten allergy market.
Gardein’s new process creates meat-like fibers from vegetables. Ingredients include proprietary formulations of proteins (slow-cooked soy, wheat and pea), organic flours (kamut, amaranth, millet, quinoa), potato starch, modified vegetable gum, organic beet fibers, and carrot fibers.
Garden Protein International was established by former chef Yves Potvin. In 2001, Potvin sold his company, Yves Veggie Gourmet (also known as Yves Fine Food), in order to focus on Gardein products.
Gardein is listed as having been officially established in 2003, and the company launched their frozen products in 2009.
In 2007, Garden Protein had 85 employees and had $50 million in yearly sales. In 2014, they had nearly $100 million in yearly sales at the retail level. The following year, they had more than 250 employees in their manufacturing plant and distributed their products to more than 22,000 stores in North America.
Gardein was first used in the United Kingdom in 2008, as an ingredient in Grassington’s frozen meals.
In 2015, Gardein was assessed by Clear Food as one of the top five most hygienic brands of hot dog and sausage manufacturers.
In 2008, there were rumours that Heather Mills was in talks with Gardein to publicise a new line of products. This was considered noteworthy at the time, as a preceding mock meats company, Linda McCartney Foods, was established by Linda McCartney (who was married to Paul McCartney. McCartney is also Mills’ ex-partner). Mills had previously courted controversy in 2002 as people perceived her plans to write a vegetarian cookbook as mimicry of McCartney’s own bestselling vegetarian cookbook.
In 2009, Gardein products were featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show by chef and Gardein consultant Tal Ronnen. They have also been part of other segments of the show in August 2010 and in February 2011.
In 2013, Gardein partnered with the Los Angeles City Council to celebrate Meatless Monday.
In 2007, Gardein received PETA’s Company of the Year Award (also known as a PETA Proggy Award) for their meat substitute products.
Since 2010 Gardein has received four Canadian Grand Prix New Product awards (Frozen or Refrigerated Prepared Food & Entrees, 2013, Fishless Fillet and Crispy Chik’n with Veggies Pocket Meal, 2015), and Gardein also won a New Product award from Veg News Magazine three years in a row (2010, 2011 and 2012). Gardein’s Seven Grain Crispy Tenders product won Shape magazine’s Best Snack award in 2010, and Gardein then won the Good Food Award by Natural Health Magazine in 2011.
Gardein received several awards in 2014, including PETA’s Product of the Year, the Libby Award for PETA’s ‘Best Seasonal Vegan Food,’ the ‘Foodie Award’ by the Vegetarian Times, and the National Restaurant Association’s Food and Beverage Innovations (FABI) Awards for their Fishless Fillets.
Also that year, the brand received the Leadership in Sustainability award at the British Columbia Export Awards, and Mercy for Animals awarded founder Yves Potvin their Innovative Business Award.
Better Homes and Gardens awarded Gardein with Best New Product in the Meatless Alternative category for their Crispy Chick’n Sliders in 2014, and ‘Best New Product’ in 2015.
In 2015, Gardein’s Gluten-Free Beefless Ground was a finalist for Best Meat Replacement in Delicious Living Magazine’s third annual Best Bite Awards. In the same year, they received the Progressive Grocer Category Advisor Award (Frozen Meatless Foods category) for their Fishless Fillets.
Although Gardein is primarily sold as a frozen product in grocery stores, its products have been included on restaurant menus as well.
In February 2018, Garden Protein International Inc. (Gardein) pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of British Columbia to a 2016 offence of unlawfully dumping vegetable oil into a ditch on Gardein’s property, which leads into the Fraser River. The company was fined $285,000, ordered to improve its Richmond-based plant to prevent future spills, and added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.