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    ConAgra Turns Focus to Snack Products

    Line extensions and detailed customer analysis mark phase two of its long-term growth plan.

    OMAHA, Neb. -- ConAgra is turning its attention to the future, and what it sees is a greater focus on products that consumers want rather than the necessities they require. An emphasis on snack foods, such as popcorn, packaged fruit, meat sticks, desserts and more, are part of "phase two" of the company's long-term growth plan, according to an Omaha World-Herald report.

    Since 2005, when current President and Chief Executive Gary Rodkin stepped into the role, ConAgra has been focused on spinning off non-core operations and focusing on packaged food. "We're in a much better place today because of the work that took place in that (restructuring) phase," Rodkin said this week at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Fla.

    Several new ConAgra products were highlighted at the conference, including frozen Greek yogurt under the Healthy Choice brand that is expected to debut early next year, as well as additions to the Slim Jim meat snack and Orville Redenbacher popcorn brands.

    The company also has implemented Customer Connect, a program that gathers information from sources such as customer interviews, product purchasing trends and shopper marketing data to help ConAgra decide when to increase prices on certain products, and by how much.

    Rodkin stated that ConAgra is constantly on the lookout for possible acquisitions to benefit the company's international business and production of private-label products, according to the report. "We want to double our international business over the next three to five years," he said. "But only with the right assets through organic growth and acquisitions."

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