Who says you can’t play with your food? MBEP member Mann Packing has built its reputation on doing just that, transforming vegetables into tantalizing, tasty fun, and in the process finding ways to get consumers to enjoy eating what’s good for them. Its “Mann, That’s Easy!” blog educates and entertains, while on social media, the company offers mouthwatering recipes that inspire us to get cooking. Even before the company created Sweet Potato “Fettuccini” and Cauliflower “Rice,” its Broccoli Wokly, Stringless Sugar Snap Peas and Broccoli Cole Slaw were taking the prep work out of the equation, reinventing how we use vegetables and making healthful snacking fun.
Mann Packing’s popular Nourish Bowls® was a first-of-its-kind product, and the line has continued to evolve. “We introduced those back in 2016 in four flavors,” says Loree Dowse, director of Creative Marketing. “We actually like to say we created the warm vegetable meal segment in the produce department.” Two flavors of Nourish Bowls Breakfast, microwavable meals that create high-protein breakfasts with the addition of eggs, were introduced in January.
The company’s newest sensation is a sweet, long-stemmed beauty that can be grown year-round in the Salinas Valley. Two years in the making, CAULILINI® baby cauliflower, as it’s known, is already making a splash among professional chefs for its mild taste, blonde, open florets and stems that turn bright green when cooked. CAULILINI® baby cauliflower has just been named Best New Product by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Hundreds of news outlets have reported on the product in recent weeks, and the company’s phones are ringing off the hook with consumers wanting to know where to find it, says Dowse. The product will roll out to consumers in partnership with a major retailer in the coming months.
Behind all that creativity is a business making a difference in other ways as well. Mann Packing employs close to 600 people in Monterey County and had about $580 million in sales last year. It’s currently hiring for jobs at its state-of-the-art processing facility in Gonzales. As many as 200 new jobs could be created as a result of the new 130,00-square-foot facility. Shipping operations begin this month, and processing will begin there later this year.
Mann Packing is also dedicated to minimizing its environmental footprint: A 260-foot-tall wind turbine at the new Gonzales facility will provide 50-75 percent of the plant’s power during peak wind times, generating the equivalent power offset of 349 U.S. homes and an estimated energy savings of $120,000-$210,000. Those offsets are equivalent to CO2 emissions from 371,672 gallons of gasoline burned, more than 3.5 million pounds of coal burned, or a year’s worth of energy use for 349 homes.
The third-generation family company was founded in 1939 and purchased by Del Monte Fresh Produce for $361 million last year.
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