U.S.: Growers Express gets patent for processed cauliflower - FreshFruitPortal.com

U.S.: Growers Express gets patent for processed cauliflower

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U.S.: Growers Express gets patent for processed cauliflower

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has given California-based Growers Express a patent for its processed 'Cauliflower Crumbles' product line, which to date has mostly been aimed at North American retail but may be set for expansion overseas and into the U.S. foodservice sector.

Growers Express and Green Giant Fresh CEO Jamie Strachan told www.freshfruitportal.com the news around a week after the product won Produce Business Magazine's Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation at the New York Produce Show.

"We’ve recently received a patent that has been issued around the process – we’re very proud of that," Strachan said on Friday.

"We just got granted it by the PTO. It was really as we speak. We paid the fee and got notice it was granted and should be published in a week or two.

"We're the original Cauliflower Crumbles, we’re the original chopped cauliflower. Not only are we original but we have a patent to protect that category." 

Cauliflower Crumbles with the Joe Nucci Award.

Cauliflower Crumbles with the Joe Nucci Award.

In a release published after the New York event, VP marketing Jennifer Fancher highlighted the new product "almost single-handedly helped reinvigorate a stagnant category" with sales up 12% the year it was launched in 2015.

"Cauliflower Crumbles now outsell florets 2:1 and the YTD (year to date) growth of Crumbles is 524% vs YAG (year at a glance)," she added. 

Strachan said the idea came from signs of alternative uses for cauliflower from a Paleo diet standpoint as a replacement for flour, cream or potatoes. The only problem was the white brassica's shelf life did not hold up so well after cutting.

"When you chop cauliflower into small bits it doesn’t hold shelf life very well in traditional processing methods...it wasn't going to hold up," he said.

"We have a good R&D (research & development) team  so we just put our heads around it and started coming up with processing methods that addressed some of the different steps in different ways to extend the shelf life.

"We have some all-natural rinses, as well as some re-sequencing of processing steps that isn’t typical in produce that works out really well," he said, clarifying the end product was chemical-free and all-natural."

He said the company's approach to any new category was first universal, then more specific.

"Cauliflower Crumbles is pure cauliflower and can be used for baking, sauce replacements, mashing, pizza crusts, but now the new products that we’ve come out with now start to address those individual categories," he said.

In response, Growers Express has come out with a fried rice blend with carrots, broccoli and onions, as well as a sweet potato and cauliflower blend.

"As we look at that category it started as just pure cauliflower but now it’s starting to evolve into a more diverse category, so with that we’ve been able to sign the majority of the customers that were taking the Cauliflower Crumbles are now taking those additional lines," Strachan said.

He said most of the focus on sales to date has been in the U.S. and Canada, as well as some small shipments to Puerto Rico. Additionally, there could be opportunities with retail customers in the Middle East and in other regions for sending the product via airfreight.

"We have Green Giant programs in Spain, France, the U.K. and in Ireland, and we’re working on plans with those groups to deploy this product," he said.




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