BOSTON — B&G Foods, Inc. has innovative plans in place for its Green Giant brand, but none currently include meat alternatives.
“Our vision for Green Giant is not just to do frozen vegetables and shelf-stable vegetables, although we’re going to continue to innovate in those areas, but our vision is to make Green Giant the plant-based, vegetable-forward brand of the future: that we’re not just making vegetable products but products made from vegetables,” said Kenneth G. Romanzi, president and chief executive officer, in a Sept. 4 presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston. “While there’s a lot of people going after protein replacements, we’re not ready for that yet, but we still think there’s a lot of opportunity for carb replacements, and that’s what we mean by products made with vegetables.”
Cauliflower pizza crusts and Green Giant Harvest Protein Bowls, both recent product launches, are building distribution, he said. The Green Giant vegetable brand is found in three kinds of store locations, Mr. Romanzi said.
“It’s in shelf-stable and frozen with us, but we also license the brand in fresh produce,” he said. “So it’s in all those areas of the store. It’s got very, very high brand awareness amongst consumers — 95%.”
B&G Foods acquired the Green Giant brand from General Mills, Inc. in 2015.
B&G Foods, Parsippany, N.J., will stay on the lookout for acquisitions of undervalued brands, Mr. Romanzi said. He gave recent examples of this strategy in the brands Victoria, McCann’s and Clabber Girl.
“Our mission really is, we acquire and nurture undervalued brands,” he said, adding that larger companies might not give enough time and attention to the brands.
“We could take a brand like McCann’s, which is about $12 million in sales,” he said. “We could take that from $12 million to $24 million to $36 million.”
He said sales in the Victoria brand could grow to $80 million from $40 million.
B&G Foods paid about $70 million in cash to purchase Victoria Fine Foods, L.L.C., a supplier of pasta and specialty sauces, condiments and gourmet spreads, from Huron Capital Partners in December 2016. In July 2018, B&G Foods paid $32 million in cash to acquire McCann’s brand of Irish oatmeal from TreeHouse Foods, Inc. In May of this year, B&G Foods acquired the Clabber Girl Corp. from Hulman & Co. Innovation soon should come in Clabber Girl, Mr. Romanzi said.
“Our vision for this company is to be part of every eating occasion,” he said of B&G Foods. “We’re basically now in over 80% of households. Now we’ve got to get more of our brands in more people’s hands for different eating occasions, whether it be breakfast, snacking, meals, grilling, and now with Clabber Girl, we’ve got a nice foundation in baking given our presence with Grandma’s Molasses and Baker’s Joy and some new products that Clabber Girl has in the pipeline.”