CHICAGO — Conagra Brands Inc. has enlisted Microsoft and Ernst & Young (EY) to help the packaged food giant harness artificial intelligence (AI) technology for solutions that drive new efficiencies and capabilities.

Chicago-based Conagra said it’s collaborating with Microsoft and EY on ways to leverage generative AI and intelligent automation to hone operations across a range of areas, including IT, supply chain, research and development, demand science, branding and design. The solutions take a “human-centered approach” aimed at providing employees with resources that speed decision-making, synthesize large data sets efficiently and spur growth, Conagra noted.

For example, Conagra employees are using tools such as Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service to boost productivity and automate routine tasks, the food company said. Microsoft also is helping Conagra test solutions to optimize complex manual processes in its production facilities. Those efforts included a two-day “hackathon” in which Conagra and Microsoft developed automated product-labeling procedures to improve the accuracy of key information on product labels, in turn enhancing traceability and quality assurance.

Meanwhile, Conagra has teamed up with EY to gauge the potential of generative AI models for developing branded imagery that supports marketing and advertising projects. The goal is to scale, accelerate and streamline content creation via “iterative collaboration” with the Conagra team, the company said. Currently, the Conagra and EY teams are assessing existing design processes and product images, fine-tuning datasets and training AI models to create images that can be adapted to specific brand requirements.

“As we implement new solutions available to us through collaborations and emerging technologies, we are not only realizing measurable results now, but identifying opportunities for future growth,” said Azeem Kapadia, senior director of AI strategy at Conagra. “These new digital capabilities will benefit our entire team, sharpen our focus and better shape how we operate and innovate throughout Conagra.”

Conagra noted that the projects with Microsoft and EY reflect its focus on prioritizing “responsible use of AI across the company” by “putting employees at the center of its AI strategy.” Other AI initiatives, the food company said, focus on analyzing complex data systems that monitor consumer preferences and emerging trends to help fuel product innovation, meeting demand challenges via better understanding of consumption trends and shopper behavior, and tracking supply chain processes to gain more visibility into shipments and identify loss-prevention opportunities.

“We have established a strong technology foundation that enables our employees to identify, prioritize and build fast and flexible solutions powered by AI for the benefit of the entire company,” commented Tracy Schaefer, senior vice president and chief information officer at Conagra. “These initiatives, which blend IT and business strategy, will help Conagra introduce new dynamic approaches for our business and respond quickly to industry trends.”

Conagra’s product lineup includes brands such as Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Healthy Choice, Marie Callender’s, Reddi-wip, Hunt’s, Vlasic, Orville Redenbacher’s, Slim Jim, Swiss Miss and Banquet, as well as emerging brands like Angie’s Boomchickapop, Duke's, Earth Balance, Gardein and Frontera. The company generated fiscal 2023 sales of $12.28 billion.