BOCA RATON, FLA. — Conagra Brands, Inc. sees millennials as a driving force for the reinvigoration of the frozen food category. To capture a greater share of sales, management unveiled a spate of new product innovation during the Consumer Analyst of New York conference.
“Many of you know I’ve been talking about opportunities in frozen for some time,” said Sean Connolly, chief executive officer. “It’s a large space and we are poised to capture long-term investments.”
Mr. Connolly said past category sluggishness was due to large manufacturers’ “taking their eye off the ball.” He added that young consumers, particularly millennials, are driving household penetration of frozen food, and, as those consumers marry and have children, they will provide a tailwind that will lead to long-term category growth.
“Big brands drive velocity in the category,” he said. “Performing big brands with big velocities are going to gain real estate. Our brands are the leaders in velocity and velocity growth.”
Three areas where Conagra management sees additional growth is extending product lines into new dayparts, creating offerings with innovative applications and cuisines, and a pursuit of handheld options.
The company introduced its Healthy Choice Power Bowls in May 2017. Later this year Conagra Brands plans to extend the line into the morning daypart with Power Bowls in such varieties as pesto and egg white scramble, roasted red pepper and white shakshuka, unwrapped burrito scramble, and turkey sausage and egg white scramble.
“We are reimagining breakfast, and we’re bringing Healthy Choice Power Bowls into breakfast,” Mr. Connolly said. “This is not a ham, egg and cheese on a bagel. These are really sophisticated, high-quality, super-healthy breakfast bowls all under 190 calories. You can see the pesto and egg white scramble here. It’s a real incremental addition to the breakfast space.”
The company also will be introducing a meatless line of Power Bowls. Varieties will include mango edamame, curry cauliflower, falafel and tahini, and white bean and feta salad.
In the handheld category, Conagra Brands will be introducing Banquet Sliders and Mega Meats, which will feature fried chicken and side dishes like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.
The company also will be relaunching its Tennessee Pride brand with breakfast and handheld options. The breakfast items will include sausage, egg and cheese with a buttermilk biscuit, Nashville hot chicken, and sausage egg and cheese with a buttermilk croissant. Handheld options will include honey biscuit wrapped sausage and sausage and gravy stuffed biscuits.
“We literally did nothing with it (Odom’s Tennessee Pride) after we acquired it, but it’s a great brand, great quality,” Mr. Connolly said. “It’s getting a full makeover.”