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Mann Packing launches Veggie Mac-n-Cheese line

Mann Packing Company, a pioneer of the fresh-cut vegetable category with products like Broccoli Wokly, Broccoli Cole Slaw and Sugar Snap Peas to its credit is bringing another new-to-the world concept to the produce department with the first ever Veggie Mac-n-Cheese kid-friendly meal solution.

The product line includes four flavor profiles using market-leader Sargento cheese: Classic Cheddar, Bacon & Cheddar, Fiesta Cheddar and White Cheddar. Each cheese sauce is coupled with fresh vegetables and a ready to heat packet of pasta.

“I’m a mom and I know it can be a battle to get kids to eat their vegetables,” said company CEO Lorri Koster. “We developed these products as a solution for parents who want to give their kids healthy meals that taste good; also, meal solutions that kids are familiar with — like macaroni and cheese. Parents will be mealtime heroes with these delicious and nutritious new products.”

Each Veggie Mac-n-Cheese package contains up to five, one-cup servings and can be prepared in four minutes or less either in the microwave or on the stove top. The components are placed in a stand-up package designed with vibrant graphics and pictures of kids on the front panel.

Christine Keller, Mann Packing’s director of marketing and innovation, said, “Families are in recipe ruts and continually looking for convenient meal time solutions. We took the familiarity of macaroni and cheese and gave it a fresh vegetable spin. The result is a product that contains 100 percent vitamin C and less than half the calories of other macaroni and cheese products in the marketplace, and lower levels of sodium.”

The timing of the Veggie Mac-n-Cheese product line capitalizes on the resurgence of macaroni and cheese products in stores and on restaurant menus. According to Mintel Menu Insights, menu mentions of macaroni and cheese products increased 13 percent since 2011 with 943 menu mentions over the past five quarters. Likewise, grocery sales continue to grow due to a proliferation of new flavor profiles added to macaroni and cheese items stocked in the center aisles, deli and frozen food departments.

Keller said, “Macaroni and cheese is back in vogue — be it upscale versions with lobster and truffle oil or on-trend flavor profiles like buffalo or ranch being added to current grocery lines. We felt it was time the produce department had its spin on an American classic. The fact it is a healthy spin is a real win for families.”

Mann is supporting the launch of Veggie Mac-n-Cheese with an integrated marketing program that includes elements for both trade and consumer audiences. The company will use digital and social media to reach consumers, coupled with traditional media, in store merchandising and grassroots marketing efforts.

“Digital media makes it easy and affordable to reach our audience. We have a video called ‘The Battle is Over’ showing how mom and dad solve the dinnertime vegetable challenge and also a video of school-age football players coming home after practice and making Veggie Mac-n-Cheese for a healthy afternoon snack,” said Koster.

Keller said that initial response to the product has been overwhelmingly positive; consumer tests showed very high concept interest and purchase intent.

Koster said, “Response from the buying community has been extremely positive. This product launch is a perfect example of how Mann Packing has become a company of moms, creating healthy solutions for moms.”

For more information about Mann Packing, visit www.veggiesmadeeasy.com.

Originally posted Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

Tags: broccoli, value-added

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