Cauliflower has already transformed your homemade pizza habit, but the veggie is coming to replace more than just crust. The frozen food section at the grocery store is now cauli-mania central—thanks to both start-up food brands like Caulipower and grocery store mainstays like Birds Eye and Green Giant.
Evidence of just how much Americans love this rockstar veggie: According to Nielsen, sales for packaged cauliflower products grew 71 percent last year. Caulipower Cauliflower Pizza, which launched only two years ago, is already in 15,000 different stores. And Green Giant, one of the most accessible frozen food brands in the country, has launched a slew of cauli-products in the past two years, including pizza crust, cauliflower rice, and cauliflower mashed potatoes. Even Kraft has jumped on board, coming out with cauliflower mac-and-cheese.
In 2019, expect the rockstar veggie to move past the freezer section and into the chips and cracker aisle—typically thought of as the least healthy section of the store.
“When we first introduced Green Giant riced veggies in September of 2016, we were harvesting five acres of cauliflower for the product,” says Jordan Greenberg, the company’s vice president and general manager. “Currently, we’re harvesting 150,000 heads of cauliflower per day for our riced veggie line.”
What’s to come for the veggie in 2019? Expect it to move past the freezer section and into the chips and cracker aisle—typically thought of as the least healthy section of the store. Cauliflower-based brand From the Ground Up is amping up its line, producing crackers, crisps, and pretzels that use the protein-rich veggie as a flour; Cali’flour Foods just released cauli-chips; and Vegan Rob’s goes even further, serving it up with a good-gut twist in its probiotic cauli puffs.
The ever-growing popularity of plant-based, gluten-free, and low-carb diets is a large part of cauli’s alt-flour dominance. “Cauliflower provides this amazing texture that can be used in a variety of recipes,” says Mark Hyman, MD, the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and New York Times best-selling author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? “It’s a great option for people who are pre-diabetic, diabetic, or who want to avoid high-glycemic foods. They still get to have pizzas, breads, and rice without spiking their blood sugar.”
Caulipower founder Gail Becker echoes Dr. Hyman, saying what she hears most from customers is that they want better-for-you options for their fave comfort foods. “Our fan base includes a wide array of people, some of whom may be following specific meal plans like low-calorie, gluten-free, low-sugar, Paleo—or those who just want a healthier, great tasting pizza,” she says. So, in 2019, consider your snack time cauli-fied. (Adjust your beautifully organized pantries accordingly.)
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