Fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are packaged with pasta packets and sauces that use Sargento cheese.
The sauce flavors are classic cheddar, bacon and cheddar, fiesta cheddar and white cheddar. All four include broccoli. The fiesta cheddar also has cauliflower, and the white cheddar adds cauliflower and carrots.
Each is a stand-up package with up to five one-cup servings, labeled with preparation times of four minutes or less by microwave or stove.
For Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing, it’s a move to capitalize on the growth of macaroni and cheese products. In restaurants, for example, menu mentions are up 13% since 2011 to 943 in the past five quarters, according to Mintel Menu Insights.
“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,” Christine Keller, director of marketing and innovation, said in a news release. “We felt it was time the produce department had its spin on an American classic.”
“We developed these products as a solution for parents who want to give their kids healthy meals that taste good,” Lorri Koster, chief executive officer, said in the release.
The products have less than half the calories of some macaroni and cheese offerings and are high in vitamin C, according to the company.
Mann Packing plans to back the launch with trade and consumer marketing that includes social and traditional media plus in-store merchandising.
Marketing elements include videos of parents resolving mealtime vegetable dilemmas with the products and of school-age football players preparing them as snacks. The parent video is dubbed “The Battle is Over.”
“Response from the buying community has been extremely positive,” Koster said.
More information is online.