Alchemy With Carrots and Wings

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

If you enjoy "baby carrots" and stories about innovation, you might find The Invention of the Baby Carrot to be worthwhile reading. Los otros Cheetos, as one marketing campaign called them, started out as a solution to one carrot farmer's waste dilemma. Mike Yurosek was having to dispose of tons of perfectly edible carrots a day due to unsaleability:

Then, in 1986, he had an idea. Frozen food processors chopped up their vegetables, including carrots, before freezing them. Pea-sized carrot cubes tossed in with peas. Crinkly-cut carrot coins. This was partially because a solid frozen carrot is a pretty inconvenient item -- it would take forever to thaw. But Yurosek also realized this meant frozen food processors got away with using irregular produce. "If they can do that," he thought, "Why can't we, and pack 'em fresh?"
After some tinkering, Yurosek knew he had a hit after his initial market test. His invention also created an entirely new market and made carrots sell in higher volume and much more profitably than before.

This story prompted me to marvel again at the Buffalo wing. I love these, but regarded chicken wings as a waste before having them. So I found a brief history of that innovation (or innovations). From that story, I got a quote that summarizes quite well why baby carrots and buffalo wings impress me so much: "Anybody can sell steak, but if you can sell odds and ends of one thing or another, then you're doing something."

-- CAV


Today: Minor edits. 

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