2019-2020 SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS
BEST NEW RETAIL FOOD
GREEN GIANT CAULIFLOWER BREADSTICKS / B&G FOODS INC.
Here’s a twist on the dinnertime dilemma between parents and picky eaters. Want your kids to eat more vegetables? Just hand them a breadstick. Actually, that’s part of the magic behind B&G Foods’ new Green Giant Cauliflower Breadsticks, which made their freezercase debut in March 2020.
Truth be told, this product didn’t just sprout up. For each of the past four years, B&G Foods Inc., Parsippany, N.J., has renovated its Green Giant frozen vegetables line with a “Veggie Swap-Ins” product development platform. The brand’s goal has been to recast popular side dishes and entrees—including pastas, tater tots and mashed potatoes—with vegetable-forward substitutes.
In 2016 announcement reported by Refrigerated & Frozen Foods, B&G Foods CEO Robert Cantwell (now retired) shared the vision.
"Since the acquisition of this iconic brand, we have been working tirelessly to meet consumer desire for new, delicious ways to incorporate more vegetables into their daily lives," he said. "This consumer desire has inspired the creation of new Green Giant frozen innovations, as well as the brand's modernized persona, with the intention of bringing back the Green Giant with a purpose—adding more vegetables to America's plates."
To date, B&G Foods’ Green Giant Veggie Swap-Ins line now spans more than 30 SKUs. The brand branched into the frozen pizza category with cauliflower crusts and even finished pizzas. Likewise, the Green Giant now has figuratively put his foot down in the frozen bakery category with two breadstick offerings: Original and Garlic.
“There are very limited gluten-free breadstick options available on the market—let alone ones that also contain vegetables. Green Giant has created yet another way for consumers to add more vegetables to their plates,” says Monica Turel, senior manager, R&D. “These tasty breadsticks are easy to make, ready in minutes and have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.”
Although the breadsticks take only minutes to prepare, they were a full year in development at B&G Foods.
“It was certainly a challenge formulating a gluten-free product with cauliflower as the main ingredient. It needed to have less carbs than traditional breadsticks but maintain comparable flavor and texture to competitive products,” says Turel. “It was very important to source the finest, quality ingredients available to create a delicious, gluten free, frozen bread product. The team worked diligently to strike the perfect balance between taste, texture and a high percentage of cauliflower. The final product was formulated to have a considerable percentage of cauliflower and it met all requirements for flavor and texture.”
Turel adds that retailers gave “an overwhelmingly positive response” prior to the product’s official launch back in March. Since then, she says B&G team has worked closely with retail partners on Green Giant’s frozen bakery category merchandising and wider distribution.