ConAgra Foods sharpens elbows in weight management category

by Josh Sosland
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ConAgra said its Healthy Choice frozen meals taste better and are nutritiously comparable to more expensive weight management alternatives.

OMAHA — Using data gathered by the company, ConAgra Foods, Inc. said its Healthy Choice frozen meals taste better than and are nutritiously comparable to more expensive weight management alternatives.

ConAgra Foods issued the data, conducted by Kristin Reimers, the company’s director of nutrition, in a presentation at Experimental Biology 2015, held March 28-April 1 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

In the blinded study, 114 women compared three ravioli meals – Healthy Choice, Jenny Craig and NutriSystem — grading each based on sensory characteristics and descriptive attributes.

“Results showed that they preferred the flavor and sauce of Healthy Choice,” ConAgra Foods said. “In side-by-side comparisons, the participants preferred the Healthy Choice meal overall and significantly more women found the Healthy Choice meal to be fresh (74%), healthy (71%), and made with natural ingredients (61%), compared to the other two meals. Additionally, the researchers found that awareness of nutrition facts improved participants’ perceptions about frozen meals.”

ConAgra Foods said when the study subjects were unblinded, the percentage of participants saying they intended to use frozen meals like Healthy Choice to help them manage their weight rose from 51% to 85%.

“Not only are frozen meals generally less expensive and more accessible than diet meals, like those from Jenny Craig and NutriSystem, they also offer equal – or better – calorie, saturated fat and sodium savings as the diet program meals,” said Keri Gans, registered dietitian and author of “The Small Change Diet.”

ConAgra said its findings demonstrate that frozen meals and entrees, like Healthy Choice, “offer a better value than meals and entrees from commercial weight loss programs, even before shipping and membership fees are applied.”
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