In 1999, Green Giant Fresh owner, Jeff Sholl, was approached by the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory, a subsidiary of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, to bring the protective benefits of broccoli sprouts into the marketplace. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which has been extensively researched for its health-promoting benefits.
After seeing the results for himself, Jeff purchased California Sprouts with the goal of expanding the market. Though the company was successful, the sprouts category was soon shaken by a series of foodborne illness outbreaks. It wasn’t long before Jeff, with his experience, background and pedigree, found an all-encompassing solution.
Working with The Vista Institute, the team applied for and received a patent for a new COLD-GROWN® process, which effectively prohibits the growth of any pathogens leading the way to an entirely new way of growing and packaging sprouts, extending the product’s shelf life in the process.
Fast-forward to 2015, and the introduction of Wild About Sprouts, the beneficiary of all that diligent testing and invention. Since its inception, there have been zero pathogens detected, with over 20 million trays sold throughout the United States. Using sustainable growing techniques and 100% recyclable packaging, Wild About Sprouts has truly reinvented the sprouts category, and once again made available a vitally important, highly functional food.
In recent years, Rä Foods, parent company to Wild About Sprouts, has added two other like-minded brands, Mixmi Frozen Yogurt and Wild About Bread, with the goal of growing and maintaining a broader portfolio, and bringing to life more wholesome, healthy, and restorative food products.
As for the future, well, the story is still being written.
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Jeffrey Sholl, PhD, Principal/Chairman Rä Foods, LLC has 40+ years of experience in the food and fresh produce industries, holding many senior management positions at the Pillsbury Company, GrandMet, Haagen-Dazs, and The Paul Ecke Ranch. He acquired the Green Giant Fresh Brand from GrandMet in 1995, and has been active in the fresh produce business ever since.
Susan Harlander, PhD, has worked with the food industry for over 30 years. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes as Director of R&D and The Pillsbury Company as VP Green Giant R&D and Agricultural Research, Susan was Associate Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Minnesota. She’s widely published, and has served on numerous federal government committees for FDA, USDA, and the National Research Council.
Barry Didato joined the Rä Foods team in 2023, bringing over thirty years of experience in investments and M&A leadership, much of it in the food and wellness space. Most recently, he served as co-founder and partner of EatWell Investment Group, along with its food holdings. Barry received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master’s Degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.