MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Cauliflower rice is growing in popularity as a trendy substitute for carbohydrates but the rice industry is upset over the product’s name.
Rice industry leaders say that calling it ‘cauliflower rice’ could be misleading and confusing.
In the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, an often underrated vegetable is having its moment in the sun.
“Cauliflower is one of the hottest vegetables we sell today,” said Vice President of Green Giant Jordan Greenberg. “You can use it as a main dish. You can use it as a side dish.”
It can be bar-b-qued, baked, stir- fried and now Green Giant is shredding cauliflower into tiny bits, creating a popular substitute for rice with less than 15% of the carbs.
At the end of the day, consumers want to eat healthier but cauliflower is now the center of a controversy, in a tale of rice and men.
“ Do we need to call cauliflower rice,” asked rice farmer Matthew Sligar. “Riced cauliflower– I mean, why even call it riced cauliflower? Could call it– bits of cauliflower, or cauliflower crumbles. Secondly, when did riced become a verb?”
Convinced Americans should know more about where their food comes from, Sligar launched, “Rice Farming TV.”
Sligar worries “riced cauliflower” is confusing consumers and may have an impact on rice sales.
Even a rice farmer admits he can’t live by rice alone.
“But hey, I’ll be open with you. There’s a cauliflower in our refrigerator. It’s just a head of cauliflower,” said Sligar. “I’ll eat it. I’m not too excited about it, but I’ll eat it, yeah.”
What he won’t do is call it rice.
These days even rice farmers have Washington lobbyists and they are asking the Food and Drug Administration to define “rice” so not everyone can use the name.