Gaby lands in Calgary Co-op

Gabriella's Kitchen brand extends its reach as demand for "better for you" frozen entrees heats up.


Gabriella’s Kitchen (Gaby) is expanding further into retail, announcing a partnership with Calgary Co-op grocery stores.

The Calgary-based wellness brand is now selling its food products – which are billed as “healthy plant-based frozen entrees” – in 23 Calgary Co-op stores. Gaby products include high protein, vegetarian, gluten-free and frozen prepared foods that were created to address consumer dietary and health concerns.

Adam Tully, director grocery operations, Calgary Co-op tells strategy that the retailer itself is looking to tap into the burgeoning wellness category with a “better for you” frozen entrée that helps it distinguish itself from the competition. “Frozen entrées have been on a decline for many years, but there’s been a real resurgence,” he says of the decision to bring Gaby products into its stores.

According to a February 2019 study by U.S.-based research firm Packaged Facts, Looking Ahead to Gen Z: Demographic Patterns and Spending Trends, there is ample opportunity for food marketers of frozen prepared meals to target Gen Zers, as that demographic is “26% more likely to eat frozen breakfast entrées” and “23% more likely to eat frozen dinners.”

skinnypasta-gnocchi-tileTully says Calgary Co-op is stocking its stores with 17 Gaby SKUs, of which four are kid-friendly and smaller in terms of portion size.

When it comes to marketing the Gaby line in Co-op stores, there will be four different three-week promotions. One of the programs (which will include end-cap displays) will likely coincide with the new school year in September, in order to tap into the demand for student lunches, says Tully. The Co-op is also emailing “Me-wards” to its members, which will introduce them to the new product lineup, and include a digital coupon that can be redeemed in store.

Sisters Gabriella and Margot Micallef co-founded the wellness brand after Gabriella received a cancer diagnosis. This spurred the duo to adopt a holistic approach to health and launch the company. Gabriella’s Kitchen has a range of products that in some cases use cannabis. In February, for example, Gaby partnered with Eximius Coffee to launch a line of cannabidiol-infused (CBD) coffee beverages and single-serve grounds in the U.S. Gaby’s Sonoma Pacific brand also includes a line of THC and CBD products sold in dispensaries in select U.S. states, but not yet in Canada.

Gabriella’s Kitchen products are available in over 3,400 conventional and natural retailers across Canada and the United States. Calgary Co-op is one of the largest retail co-operatives in North America, with over 440,000 members.