“My goal was to bring to market a waffle that I feel comfortable giving my kids everyday ... [and that] consumers everywhere could eat and feel like it was homemade, except it didn’t have the homemade hassle attached to it,” founder and CEO Emily Groden told FoodNavigator-USA.
She explained when her first child was born she investigated the waffle aisle and determined even the so-called better-for-you options were not good enough as they didn’t have the nutritional profile or flavor that she wanted.
“I wanted every ingredient to be real. So, no preservatives. I wanted there to be fruits and veggies in there because what parent doesn’t want to give their kids more fruits and veggies. I wanted them to be whole grain. I didn’t want any refined sugars. I wanted a really simple ingredients list of just real food. And that is what I wanted to bring to market,” she explained.
Four years after launching, Groden says she wanted to lean into what sets Evergreen apart and make “incremental improvements” to the recipe by packing in even more fruits and vegetables so there is one full serving of produce per serving of waffles. She also “amped up” the flavor with more spices and nuts, added a touch of avocado oil and played with the leavening to enhance the texture.
Finally, the brand swapped the honey it used as a sweetener with maple syrup so that children under the age of one could enjoy Evergreen as a first solid food.
Earning a 100% Whole Grain Stamp, the new formula is packed with 3-5g of fiber per serving to support gut health and 4-6g of protein for sustenance.
New packaging addresses ‘misconceptions’ about the brand
Evergreen also updated its packaging not only to better call-out the new and improved nutritional benefits of its waffles and better pop on shelf, but to also clear up a few unexpected misconceptions prompted by its previous packaging.
“Our old packaging was a white background and the lettering was green,” which some consumers said “triggers for us plant-based,” or that the product was healthy but maybe not also delicious, Groden said.
The goal of the hyper-saturated and brightly colored new packaging was to communicate “first and foremost these are delicious products and they are fun and they are convenient, and they just happen to be really nutritious,” Groden explained.
She reinforced this message by changing the flavor names to the desserts after which the profiles were created, rather than simply naming each SKU after the fruits and vegetables it contained.
“In the past, our zucchini carrot cake was zucchini and carrot,” but by referencing the dessert that inspired the flavor profile the brand can also tap into the nostalgia and positive memories that many people associate with baked desserts.
“Of course, we want people to know what we’re delivering nutrition-wise, so we updated all our call-outs on the front-of-pack. We put front and center that we’ve got that one full serving of fruits and veggies per serving of a product,” as well as the Whole Grain Stamp and note that fiber in the product supports gut health, Groden said.
In addition to the waffles, Evergreen also offers consumers breakfast sandwiches that use the original waffle as the bread and include bacon, egg, cheese and spinach, which are crafted with the same homemade care as the waffles, Groden said.
The sandwiches soft launched a year ago, but now that the rebranding is complete the company plans to more aggressively market the sandwiches, she said.
Looking forward, Groden said, Evergreen also plans to debut another new product at Expo West this year as well as support expanded distribution of its existing line-up.