Prepared Foods November 28, 2005 e-newsletter

General Mills has kicked off a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign around its Green Giant frozen vegetable products, reviving the iconic Jolly Green Giant in a first-time sampling effort for the brand.

The campaign, For the Love of Vegetables, highlights the 80-year-old Jolly Green Giant to promote the great taste of frozen vegetables with its offerings of low-fat sauces and seasonings. This month, General Mills unveiled a 25-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant billboard in New York City's Times Square to launch the campaign.

The promotion, the brand's first major advertising initiative in more than 10 years, is designed to encourage consumers to include more vegetables in their diets.

To help build buzz around the marketing effort, Green Giant is hitting the road in the Northeast in five markets to sample broccoli and cheese sauce, corn niblets and butter sauces, seasoned garden vegetable medley and vegetables and Tuscan herb sauce. The campaign marks the first time Green Giant has used sampling to market its products, said Sharon Springborn, associate marketing manager for General Mills' Green Giant brand.

The sampling effort targets New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC, using a converted ice cream truck. Green Giant expects to reach thousands of consumers in each city, Springborn said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends consumers eat five servings of vegetables every day, yet in a recent survey, Green Giant discovered consumers eat only an average of 2.4 servings of vegetables each day.

"We know people are not getting enough vegetables into their diets," Springborn said. "Our vegetables, with our sauces and seasonings...offer great-tasting solutions. Taste is often a key barrier for eating vegetables. We want to get them into [consumers'] mouths and let them know how delicious vegetables can be."

As part of the sampling tour, Green Giant is distributing recipes cards to help consumers make healthy meals with its vegetables, Springborn said. The sampling tour concludes December 1.