Changes from The Valley


Ho, ho, ho — and mashed cauliflower

Our friend the Jolly Green Giant has been through a fair amount of change. In 1950 the Minnesota Valley Canning Co. (founded in 1903) changed its name to Green Giant. In 1979, Green Giant was acquired by Pillsbury, and it went along for the ride when Pillsbury was acquired by General Mills in 2001. In 2015, General Mills sold Green Giant to B&G Foods of Parsippany, N.J., whose many grocery brands include Ortega, Accent, Cream of Wheat, and Joan of Arc.


Suddenly, it’s Green Giant that is changing frozen vegetables. There’s practically an army of new Green Giant products, many of which are significantly different from anything Mr. Tidbit can recall.

The theme of a set of four lines of these new products (there are lots more) seems to be that they represent interesting or better-for-you choices than other starches – notably rice and potatoes. Thus we see such phrases as “Veggie Swap-Ins” and “Swap in More Veggies” promoting several kinds each of Green Giant Riced Veggies, Roasted Veggies, Veggie Tots and Mashed Cauliflower

The ricing in Green Giant’s Riced Veggies has nothing to do with rice, but is the process that produces tiny dice of vegetables that, if Mr. Tidbit wanted to give the impression that he watches cooking shows, he would say resemble mirepoix. The four versions, all of which contain nothing but the named vegetables — not even salt — are Cauliflower, Cauliflower & Broccoli, Cauliflower & Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Medley (Cauliflower, Green Peas, Yellow Onions, Carrots and Green Onions).

The five kinds of Roasted Veggies, also containing nothing but what’s in the name — again, not even salt — are Corn, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli and Carrots.

Mr. Tidbit understands the purity idea here, but he has to say that some of these items, while nicely textured, are quite bland.

The other two lines of Green Giant Swap-Ins, in identical packaging to the Riced Veggies and Roasted Veggies, don’t share the philosophy of few ingredients and no seasoning. They are three kinds of Veggie Tots: Broccoli, Broccoli & Cheese and Cauliflower; and several flavors of Mashed Cauliflower: Cheddar & Bacon, Original With Olive Oil & Sea Salt, and Garlic & Herb.

Mr. Tidbit could swear he saw a nothing-but-cauliflower version of Mashed Cauliflower, but he can’t find it now.


Al Sicherman

Author: Al Sicherman

Al Sicherman and his used dog, Gus, live in Minneapolis. Al is on the left/

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