Inside General Mills
|Sept. 28, 2010
|| General Mills Corporate Communications |
Green Giant helps fuel orbiting astronauts
Nearly 50 years after Pillsbury first packed a space lunch box for Mercury astronaut F. Scott Carpenter, Green Giant and Cheerios are helping to feed and nourish Space Shuttle astronauts – as well as those on the International Space Station – as they circle the globe.
Astronaut Sandra Magnus, Expedition 18 flight engineer, shows the taco that she prepared in the galley of the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station.
Image courtesy of NASA
When Apollo 11 landed on the moon and astronaut Neil Armstrong took his historic step in the summer of 1969, Space Food Sticks -- the first solid food consumed in space developed by Pillsbury in 1962 -- had already landed in the grocery aisle.
Former NASA astronaut and current United Space Alliance Chief Operating Officer Dan Brandenstein paid a recent visit to General Mills World Headquarters to thank company officials for their innovations and ongoing support of the space program, which most recently includes donating Green Giant Frozen Vegetables and Multigrain Cheerios.
The vegetables and cereal are among the General Mills products selected for NASA to feed its astronauts by the United Space Alliance, which manages Space Shuttle fleet daily operations, including supplying, planning and training. The selected foods are then freeze-dried, and packaged for flight in single serving rehydratable packages.
Despite its squeeze tube, or pouch packaging, Brandensten, who flew four Space Shuttle missions, said, “The food is really quite good.”
Food safety and NASA
The association between General Mills and NASA is a familiar one.
In conjuction with NASA more than 30 years ago, the company developed the Harzard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) process for ensuring food safety.
That process has long been required of General Mills' businesses worldwide, and today is the food industry's gold standard.
Houston, we have our vegetables
Each year, United Space Alliance officials visit 40 of their 2,000 active suppliers to show their appreciation for “mission support.”
“We visit suppliers who are doing things right,” says Gary Henderson, United Space Alliance supplier relations, logistics and material director. “This is an opportunity for us to come to you and thank you.”
After his comments, Henderson presented Jon Nudi, then vice president of marketing for Green Giant, a certificate from the agency honoring General Mills for its partnership. Nudi has since been promoted to Snacks division president.
Green Giant’s healthy mission
NASA astronauts – along with those from the Canadian, European, Japanese and Russian Space agencies – get their daily vegetables from Green Giant Frozen Vegetable products, including Cauliflower & Cheese Sauce and Creamed Spinach.
Multigrain Cheerios are onboard for breakfast.
The products are selected by NASA, then freeze-dried by the United Space Alliance and packaged for space. The single serving packages are then rehydrated in space.
“Since 2004, we have been donating our Green Giant Frozen Vegetable products to the United Space Alliance,” says Ebony Wyatt, Green Giant product sales manager.
“We are doing our part to ensure that the United Space Alliance in partnership with NASA is able to offer astronauts, high quality, and nutritious food options for their space missions. We are excited that Green Giant can be a part of the astronauts lives both at home and during their missions,” Wyatt said.
Inside General Mills