Why This Canned Food Is Special For Green Giant

Canned food gets a bad rap. But veggies in a can are superstars of last-minute weeknight dinners or slow-cooker stews simmering through the afternoon. Canned peas make the perfect addition to a 15-minute stir-fry, while vegetarian dishes thrive with a variety of canned beans, asparagus, carrots, or mushrooms.

Green Giant, founded in the 1900s by the Minnesota Valley Canning Company (MVCC), holds all its vegetables in high esteem. But some pull at the heartstrings of a company whose mascots have worn green leafy outfits since 1928, some cradling giant pods and cobs, according to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. After an evolution of careful redesigning by famed designer Leo Burnett in the 1930s, a newer and friendlier gentle giant prompted the company's eventual name change to Green Giant in 1950. The enormous jolly icon still welcomes visitors to "the Valley of the Green Giant" in Minnesota today.

So, which vegetable holds a special spot in the Green Giant product line, both historically and as a consumer favorite? That depends on where you live.

Sweet success with sweet corn

General Mills reveals that it largely operates the Green Giant brand outside of North America. In the United Kingdom, where Green Giant arrived in 1960, per Green Giant EU, it's all about corn. Stating that sweet corn is at the heart of the Green Giant family, the company calls it the favorite vegetable to grow. Those roots dig deep, all the way back to Minnesota and the 1936 Jolly Green Giant mascot cradling a larger-than-life ear of golden corn. The sweet stalks are so engrained in company culture that they developed their own proprietary hybrid sweet-corn seed.

In America, corn also holds a cherished spot in company lore. Its founders at MVCC became canning pioneers and the country's largest producer of canned corn, per MinnPost. In fact, their initial canned product was solely white cream-style corn before adding peas to the lineup. Today, corn remains a strong contender for America's favorite vegetable, according to a June 2022 press release by Green Giant. A polling of 5,000 Americans found that more Americans prefer broccoli, but 11 states still choose corn as its favorite vegetable.

The vegetable "giant" still harbors a fondness for the golden kernels, stating that they maximize agricultural acreage for ultimate growing conditions and proximity to processing and packaging plants, per Green Giant. After nurturing growth through the summer months, workers harvest the ripe corn at its peak before immediate transport to processing facilities in Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest.