ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Consumer views of health and wellness are evolving, and Conagra Brands, Inc. is reshaping its portfolio to answer the needs of today’s shoppers. The Chicago-based company showcased its expanded better-for-you offerings at Natural Products Expo West, held March 5-9 in Anaheim.
“The headline for Conagra is we see the definition of healthy as expanding,” Burke Raine, vice-president and general manager, snacks and sweet treats at Conagra Brands, told Food Business News. “It used to be very narrowly defined as natural. Where we’ve evolved is to this idea of cleaner labels, things that are Non-GMO Project verified, things that are organic items, things that we see as being made in smaller batches… That’s how we tend to see the modern definition of health evolving.”
At Expo West, Conagra highlighted innovation from recent acquisitions, including Angie’s Boomchickapop, Duke’s and Frontera. Brands included in the company’s Pinnacle Foods transaction last year are Gardein, Glutino, Udi’s, evol and Earth Balance. These businesses are helping Conagra meet consumer demand for plant-based, gluten-free and clean label products across the grocery store.
Products unveiled at Expo West included Udi’s gluten-free mug cakes, grain-free muffins and veggie crust pizza; Glutino gluten-free stuffed cookies and pretzels; and evol frozen burritos and meal bowls. Gardein featured new plant-based breakfast bowls and skillet meals.
From Angie’s Boomchickapop, new items include sweet and salty kettle corn popcorn, white cheddar puffs, berries and cream popcorn and trail mix. The Frontera brand is adding gourmet Mexican bowls and skillets and a new line of salsas.
“We’ve got a broad range of brands that have legs to increasingly be more modern and relevant, and we’re investing against them,” Mr. Raine said. “We’re always evaluating M.&A. opportunities, and if something interesting comes up we can evaluate it. When you think of modern health attributes, we have a broad swath covered today.
“We’ve got a broad range of brands that have legs to increasingly be more modern and relevant and we’re investing against them. We’re always evaluating M&A opportunities and if something interesting comes up we can evaluate it… When you think of modern health attributes, we have a lot of the big buckets covered today.”
He added, “Our philosophy is the consumer wants better food that tastes better and helps them perform better, and I think we have a lot of brands in the portfolio that help achieve that.”