- Green Giant Fresh added six varieties of gluten-free Vegetable Meal Bowls to its lineup, according to a company announcement. The new varieties — Buddha Bowl, Burrito Bowl, "Fried Rice" Bowl, Pad Thai Bowl, Ramen Bowl and Rancheros Bowl — have a vegetable base. Some are vegan-friendly, the company said.
- The veggie meal bowls are sold in microwave-safe containers in the refrigerated produce sections at grocery stores nationwide with a suggested retail price of $3.99 each, Green Giant Fresh said.
- Jamie Strachan, CEO of Green Giant Fresh, said in a statement there's no reason for on-the-go consumers, or those with limited time, to forego nutrition or flavor. "We were the first to create Cauliflower Crumbles as a rice substitute, and we are proud to bring our new Vegetable Meal Bowl line to consumers as another way to enjoy our high-quality fresh vegetables."
From unloved and forgotten veggie sides to a growing meal brand, Green Giant seems to have come full circle. The company, which General Mills sold to B&G Foods in 2015 for $765 million, is on the receiving end of plenty of innovation and marketing attention from its corporate parent these days. Green Giant recently returned the favor with second-quarter net sales of its frozen products rising by nearly 20%, according to B&G's most recent earnings report. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth for the frozen segment.
Besides the new veggie bowls, B&G has further bolstered the Green Giant brand with popular products, including Veggie Spirals, Riced Veggies, Veggie Tots and Mashed Cauliflower. These on-trend items check the boxes for convenience, innovation, low-carb diets and better-for-you alternatives to rice, pasta and potatoes.
Additionally, Green Giant Fresh said it has partnered with dietitian and nutrition expert Amanda Lemein to provide suggestions about augmenting the veggie bowls to make them a more complete meal. Lemein said in a statement that eggs, tofu, beans, avocado and meat make for versatile toppings and are an easy way to add more nutrients and fiber to the lineup. Her expertise could give the bowls nutritional credibility for consumers.
"I appreciate that the bowls were created by a company of farmers who understand the importance of growing and eating fresh foods. Vegetable Meal Bowls are perfect for everyone because they’re so versatile. They’re great to grab and go or stock up for meal planning and are so easily customizable with additional proteins or toppings," Lemein said.
Veggie bowls are popular today, especially with younger consumers who want healthy and easy-to-prepare meals, so it's likely this Green Giant Fresh launch will be successful. The brand name is also well-known — Green Giant has been around since 1925 and was named after a large pea variety brought to Minnesota from England. Competitors such as Nestlé, Pinnacle Foods and Conagra have also come out with plant-based and gluten-free meal options because they know these products have a good chance of resonating with today's busy consumers.
B&G is known in the food industry as a "serial acquirer," so it won't be surprising if the company continues to innovate and extend its reach beyond its already extensive portfolio of more than 50 brands. The key to B&G's future is finding products that add value at a reasonable price — and continuing to creatively build on existing brands such as Green Giant.