“Eat Your Vegetables!” It has been every mother’s lament for generations!
While there are a few kids out there that will gobble up Brussels sprouts as if they were handfuls of popcorn, getting most kids to eat one, let alone “5 servings” of veggies a day, is Mission Impossible.
But there is a new, fun way to get your kids to eat some vegetables, that won’t require help from Tom Cruise! They are called “Cauli-carbs,” and they are all the rage.
Cauli-carbs are so-named because they use ground cauliflower as an ingredient to substitute for wheat or other typical carbs or flours in all kinds of kid’s favorites, from pizza to cheese puffs.
This is a trend that seemingly has no end in sight, according to Bob Nolan, senior vice president of demand science for Conagra Brands, which makes products such as cauli-fries, cauli-tots, riced cauliflower, and mashed cauliflower.
Speaking to the press, Nolan said that in this year alone, the “veggie carb” category has grown to a whopping $703 million business nationwide, with a crazy 83% growth rate. “I’ve never seen anything growing at this rate, at this size,” Nolan said. “We think this is going to be around for a long time. We don’t think this is a fad.”
Johanna Israel-Duprey, director of marketing for Hippie Snacks, would agree. She says that she realized cauliflower as a carb substitute was more than a fad when she saw that California Pizza Kitchen added a cauli crust to its menu. “I think cauliflower works as a carb substitute for so many people because it doesn’t actually have to taste like cauliflower,” she said. “When you eat the product, you don’t feel like you’re eating a carb substitute.”
“What people love is that it applies to such a broad demographic,” said Cybele Pascal, founder of Cybele’s Pasta, which makes a cauliflower, parsnip and lentil pasta that now comes in three shapes. “Athletes love good carbs and high protein, clean eaters and millennials love it, and then you also get moms sneaking vegetables into their kids’ diets.”
How Do Cauli Carb Products Taste?
But the big question is how do these cauli carb products taste? For the most part, it seems pretty darn good. Speaking from my own experience with an extremely fussy 16-year-old, whose diet pretty much consists of Raman, pizza, and Cheetos, and that’s on a good day – she loves the cauli fries, tots, the riced cauli, and the various cauli crust pizzas.
The Tampa Bay Times recently did a taste test of a few of the most popular cauli carb products and the judges all gave high marks to:
- Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Pictsweet Farms Steam’ables Riced Cauliflower
- Birdseye Veggie Made Cauliflower Tots and Cauliflower Fries
- The Ground Up Cauliflower Crackers
- The Ground Up Cauliflower Pretzels
The bottom line is for kid’s that simply will not touch vegetables, or for those limiting carbs and calories, or anyone who enjoys eating junk food, but knows they shouldn’t –cauliflower can be their new “BFF.” It’s a great alternative and healthier way to consume normally high-carb foods by substituting the pasta, potatoes, and pie crusts with ground-up cauliflower.