General Mills is putting its Green Giant vegetable business on the sales block, according to Reuters.
The news service, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said Mills is working on a potential sale with investment bank Rothschild. General Mills declined to comment to Reuters and the Star Tribune.
With Green Giant, General Mills is one of the top players in frozen and canned vegetables. But it’s a mature, slow-growth industry, and it’s getting squeezed by increasing consumer preferences for fresh vegetables.
So, peddling Green Giant would seem to make sense – if the price is right. Proceeds could be used to help fund new acquisitions of faster-growing businesses like Annie’s, the organic macaroni and cheese maker that Mills bought last year for $820 million.
General Mills’ frozen foods division, which included Green Giant frozen and canned vegetables and Totino’s branded products, had sales of $1.5 billion in the company’s most recent fiscal year – down 2 percent over the previous year.
Green Giant is known for its Jolly Green Giant mascot, and the brand has long been associated with Minnesota. Minneapolis-based Pillsbury bought the Green Giant company in 1979 and Golden Valley-based Mills bought Pillsbury in 2001.