The Jolly Green Giant, Winnie the Pooh and other licensed characters are cropping up on packages of infant and toddler foods from Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp.

A cobranding program with General Mills’ Green Giant expands tie-ins with other food companies for Beech-Nut purées, while a similar program with Disney adds marketing luster to toddler foods. Source: Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp.

Cobranding deals with General Mills for selected infant purées and Disney Consumer Products for new toddler products capped a busy 2010 for the Amsterdam, NY-based baby-food company. The products, including new steam-cooked foods called Steamies, are produced in Beech-Nut’s new $124 million plant. Beech-Nut is seeking silver LEED certification for the facility.

Green Giant joins Chiquita in Beech-Nut’s cobranded product portfolio. “The names Chiquita and Green Giant are synonymous with having the highest quality standards and delicious taste,” according to Chief Marketing Officer Evan Eckman, who notes the Chiquita tie-in began almost 20 years ago. The Disney program involves Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet on new toddler foods for children 12 months and older. Eckman describes the Disney cobranding as a “highly effective communication platform specifically targeted to toddlers’ moms through Disney’s integrated media channels.”

The Green Giant relationship means new graphics for some stage 1, 2 and 3 products, though the containers remain the same. “Infant purées are exclusively produced in traditional glass jars,” Eckman emphasizes. Steamies, on the other hand, “are offered in microwave-safe, BPA-free plastic tubs.” They are offered as twin packs of 6-oz. tubs.

He describes steam cooking as “a new concept for the US infant foods market. The primary benefit of the steam-cooked technology is retention of taste and textures, which gives our Beech-Nut Steamies a homemade quality, yet the convenience of quick preparation.”