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Americas: Report finds frozen foods go for healthy makeover

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Frozen foods have been feeling the heat lately in the US largely due to a shift in consumer preferences to fresh and refrigerated foods.

But the industry is fighting back, with a flurry of new-product activity that match up with the qualities consumers are looking for, according to a Packaged Facts report.

Recent product development and positioning in frozen foods reflect current overall food trends like clean labels, international and regional flavors, and special dietary preferences, as well as products intended as innovative offerings to encourage people to eat more vegetables.

The Green Giant brand and the Green Giant are good examples of how frozen food marketers are getting back on track.

The brand changed hands in November 2015, when B&G Foods purchased it from General Mills for US$765 million.

B&G quickly breathed new life into the iconic brand, which had been around since 1928 and was recognized by around 90% of US consumers.

In less than a year it was rolling out a series of new and innovative Green Giant frozen products, including:

– Veggie Tots, an alternative to potato tots and French fries are filled with vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli instead of potatoes.

– Riced Veggies, made from 100% vegetables and with no sauce or seasoning, are positioned as alternatives to traditional rice with 70% to 85% fewer calories per serving than prepared white rice.

– Mashed Cauliflower, an alternative to the typical potato side dish with 40% to 45% fewer calories than the leading brand of prepared mashed potatoes.

– Roasted Veggies, offering the taste of roasted vegetables “without the hassle of roasting and cleaning up”.

The new Green Giant frozen vegetable product lines under B&G Foods’ auspices deliver a fresh take on yesterday’s side dishes with the purpose of helping Americans ‘swap in’ more vegetables.

To this end, Veggie Tots and Mashed Cauliflower can be swapped in for potatoes, and Riced Veggies for white rice.

The new product launch was supported with a US$30 million The Giant Awakens media campaign that featured an updated Green Giant.

Besides Green Giant, other notable actions being taken by frozen food marketers include:

– Bellisio Foods’ EAT! line of frozen entrées that combine bold, global flavors with authentic, high-quality ingredients;

– The Mouth Meets South frozen meal brand with audience-specific ingredients such as fried catfish, smothered pork chops, corn pudding, candied yams, collard greens, mustard greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.

Packaged Facts expects other marketers and brand adopt a similar strategy for their frozen foods.