Spotlight on vegetable substitutes – riced, mashed and spiraled

October 4, 2017
3 min read

Substituting vegetables as a base for other types of foods may encourage consumers of all ages in eating more veggies. Mintel research on US vegetable consumers shows that a quarter of Americans struggle to incorporate enough vegetables into their diets, while nearly the same number of parents with kids 18 or under say it is difficult to get their children to eat vegetables.

Some brands are stepping in to help by developing products that incorporate vegetables into formats like noodles and rice, which boast comparable nutritional content to normal vegetable forms and make for easy replacements for grains. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), about 8% of all vegetable launches from January-August 2017 are either riced, mashed or noodles/spirals, up from just 5% in 2016.

Here we spotlight a few brands who have recently launched popular vegetable substitute options in the US market:

Green Giant

Green Giant will be adding to its range of Green Giant frozen veggie swap-ins with its introduction of Green Giant Veggie Spirals. The spirals, available in Zucchini, Carrots and Butternut Squash varieties, will be launched in January 2018. Green Giant is also adding on new flavors and varieties to its existing Mashed, Riced and Tots products, further expanding the brand’s venture into vegetable swap-ins.

Veggie Noodle

The Veggie Noodle Company, a startup founded only two years ago, is already a major player in vegetable sub-ins with products like Sweet Potato Spirals.

Grain & Simple

Grain & Simple and Del Monte are also hopping on this vegetable replacement trend, recently introducing vegetable noodles made from butternut squash and zucchini respectively.

Del Monte

Grain & Simple and Del Monte are also hopping on this vegetable replacement trend, recently introducing vegetable noodles made from butternut squash and zucchini respectively.

Carrot Spirals

Retailers including Trader Joe’s are offering their own varieties of vegetable spirals too, with Trader Joe’s recently launching carrot spirals.

What we think

Vegetable substitutes may be perceived as healthier than the foods they are replacing, but swap-ins for vegetables like veggie rice or noodles may be seen as lacking in taste, flavor or texture when compared with the real thing. However, some consumers may be willing to sacrifice a bit on these attributes for a simple solution to implementing more vegetables in their diet, and potentially their children’s diets. More brands are likely to jump in on this vegetable swap-in trend, but those that innovate in varieties closer in form, texture and taste to the foods they plan to be a replacement for, without diminishing the vegetables nutritional value, are likely to appeal most to consumers.

Michael is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, specializing in the CPG food and drink industry. He is responsible for writing monthly analysis reports providing strategic insight and consultancy across several food and drink categories.

Michael Averbook
Michael Averbook

Michael is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, specializing in the CPG food and drink industry. He provides strategic insight and consultancy across several categories.

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