Food - Drink
How Green Giant Changed The Canned Food Industry Forever
By KATHERINE BECK
Nowadays, canned vegetables seem as commonplace as sliced bread, but these veggie products were a rarity until Green Giant began mass-producing canned goods. The company's name was fitting, since they became a literal giant in the canning business starting in the 1900s, and completely revolutionized the preserved foods industry.
Green Giant began in 1903 as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company, when a man named John Silver Hughes convinced a group of investors to create a cannery, even though canning was a relatively new process. In its infancy, MVCC only packaged white, creamed-style corn for sale, though they later added Early June peas to their repertoire.
The company branched out 1925, when an executive brought back a breed of large, tender pea from England and added it to the product lineup. To help increase sales, the company developed its mascot, the Green Giant, named after the large peas; after many iterations and redesigns, the Green Giant became the logo for the company in 1950.
Along with revolutionizing food marketing, Green Giant invented new techniques for the canning industry, including a way to separate peas during the manufacturing process, and a new way to vacuum-pack whole corn cobs. Most importantly, the company invented the heat unit method, a way to tell when crops were perfectly ripe and ready for harvesting.