Three Conagra Brands Ready to Roll with Bowls this Summer

Conagra Brands will be “bowling for dollars” in supermarket frozen food aisles soon, as it launches Healthy Choice Power Bowls, Banquet Mega Bowls, Frontera Barbacoa Taco Bowl and other Frontera recipe options.

“We have successfully leveraged innovation to modernize and extend the Healthy Choice brand upmarket. Segmenting our business across the good, better, best continuum not only moves existing consumers to more premium offerings, but introduces younger consumers to the brand through more contemporary products,” said Darren Serrao, chief growth officer of Chicago-headquartered Conagra Brands.

Power Bowls“These new Power Bowls reflect more contemporary food values and pack more ingredient diversity and density into each meal,” he added. “We've combined antibiotic-free proteins, ancient grains, vegetables and dark leafy greens with pulses and seeds in a variety of delicious and bold flavors – all of which is served up in a bowl made from plant-based fibers.”

Adobo Chicken Bowl and Korean BBQ Beef are among the Healthy Choice Power Bowl offerings that will be distributed in sustainable, plastic-free microwave packaging.

Mega Bowls are joining Mega Meals under Conagra’s expanding range of Banquet brand frozen products. Presented as part of a premium tier contemporary protein-packed meals line, they boast fast casual restaurant-style dishes including Buffalo Chicken, Mac and Cheese and Chicken Fajita.

Banquet Mega Bowls and Meals

“Although we continue to modernize and premiumize Banquet, we continue to maintain Banquet’s role as a value meal within the category,” said Serrao.

Gourmet Mexican Cuisine

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Frontera Foods last year gave Conagra a strong brand within the high growth territory of gourmet Mexican cuisine. With a few months a number of innovative recipes under the banner will be available for purchase in freezer cases across the USA.

“The business founded by Chef Rick Bayless has been experiencing strong growth over the past three years and is firmly rooted in salsas and sauces. However, starting this summer, we expect to begin shipping two new extensions of the Frontera brand into the frozen meals category. We've worked with Rick to create authentic gourmet Mexican meals in both single-served bowls and multi-served skillet [packs],” said Serrao.

Fontera launchThe 11-ounce bowls, which will retail for $3.99 to $4.99, come in four varieties: Barbacoa Taco, featuring braised beef, black beans, three-chile Barbacoa sauce, fire-roasted peppers and a grain blend; Tinga Taco, with grilled seasoned chicken breast, fire-roasted tomatoes and bell peppers, red onion and a three-grain blend in a roasted tomato chile sauce; Chicken Fajita, featuring grilled seasoned chicken breast, fire-roasted bell peppers and tomatoes, red onions, a three-grain blend and fajita sauce; and Veggie Taco, a three-grain blend topped with zucchini, sautéed onions, white beans, poblanos and corn, accented with tomatillo and cilantro sauce.

At the same time, 20-ounce skillets meals will be launched. Varieties, which will sell for $7.99 to $8.99, include Chicken Fajita, Veggie Taco, Chicken Taco, Baracoa Taco and Carnitas Taco. The last mentioned offering features braised, seasoned pork, fire-roasted poblano and yellow peppers, onions and black beans in a tomatillo and cilantro sauce.

Q3 Sales Down, Profit Up

Conagra Brands executives talked about new products in the pipeline and other growth plans for Fiscal 2018 recently during a Q3 2017 earnings conference call. Overall sales of $1.981 billion fell by 9.9% during the period, while operating profit rose 9.3% to $332 million. Receipts in the Refrigerated and Frozen segment slipped by 6% to $666 million, as operating profit advanced 5.1% to $128 million.

Diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations grew from $0.16 to $0.41; adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations increased 37.1% from $0.35 to $0.48.

Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of the company, commented: "I am pleased with our ongoing progress in reshaping our portfolio, capabilities and culture. Our disciplined focus on controlling costs and upgrading the quality of our revenue base are delivering the desired impact. We are also excited about our innovation lineup, which we expect to begin hitting stores this summer.”