CHICAGO, May 02, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Satisfying consumers' desires for more organic food choices where they regularly shop for groceries, two of ConAgra Foods flagship brands - Hunt's(R) and Orville Redenbacher's(R) - are introducing organic products later this year. The announcement came at the 2005 Food Marketing Institute Show here this week.
Hunt's Organic tomatoes and Orville Redenbacher's Organic Microwave Popcorn are aimed at American families looking to improve their eating habits and well-being by making changes to their family's daily menus. For busy parents who want to serve foods of higher quality and purity, finding these organic products from Hunt's and Orville Redenbacher's at their favorite retailers offers a convenient new choice.
"Our research shows Americans today want greater variety of good food choices to help them as they shop and prepare meals to satisfy their individual needs and tastes. Many are looking to improve their family's diets by taking small, sensible steps, not wholesale change," said Dr. Pat Verduin, senior vice president and director, Product Quality and Development, ConAgra Foods. "For a growing number, this means including organic products as a quality, wholesome part of their family's daily menu. We're committed to offering consumers and retailers more great-tasting, convenient organic choices from brands they trust."
Representing about 2% of U.S. grocery receipts, organic foods are moving from niche to mainstream market status, with annual sales growing by 20% in recent years. Estimated consumer purchases in 2007 will be $30 billion, up from $10.4 billion just two years ago.(1) And while nearly half of organic sales now come from mainstream retail outlets,(2) more than half of grocery shoppers say they would buy more organic foods if they were available in their stores, according to a recent FMI-Prevention study.(3)
"There's a growing segment of young families who buy or would consider buying organic versions of the foods they already eat, but prefer sticking with the quality of the brand names they trust," said Valerie Sheppard, vice president, Brand Marketing, Hunt's. "At Hunt's, we have five generations of expertise in providing families with quality tomatoes. The introduction of Hunt's Organic reflects our commitment to providing an even greater variety of choices to satisfy their mealtime needs."
The new Hunt's and Orville Redenbacher's products will bear the "USDA Organic" seal, verifying they were produced using certified organic practices, such as no synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
Hunt's Organic Tomatoes
For more than 100 years, Americans have looked to Hunt's as the tomato expert. As with all Hunt's tomatoes, Hunt's Organic tomatoes are vine-ripened, harvested and canned at the peak of ripeness. They are certified organic and processed without artificial ingredients and preservatives. Rich with nutrients, including vitamins C and B-complex, iron, potassium, and lycopene, Hunt's Organic tomatoes feature red, rich color and an intense tomato flavor.
Hunt's plans to bring six new organic canned tomato products to retailer shelves this September. In four test markets earlier this year, consumers reacted enthusiastically to Hunt's Organic tomato products, ringing up strong sales.
Orville Redenbacher's Organic Microwave Popcorn
Orville Redenbacher's Organic Microwave Popcorn is being introduced as organic snack food sales show particularly strong growth. Organic snack sales jumped 30% in 2003, making it the second fastest-growing organic category, according to data from the Organic Trade Association.
Orville Redenbacher's plans to offer its new certified organic butter-flavored popcorn in October, in three-pack cartons, providing adults and children with a great-tasting, natural snack option grown without pesticides or genetically modified ingredients. The fiber-rich, whole-grain snack combines organic goodness with the exclusive hybrid of corn that took Orville himself over 40 years to develop, and made his popcorn legendary for being lighter and fluffier.
"Parents are always looking for nutritious snacks for kids," said Dan O'Connor, brand director, Orville Redenbacher's. "If they can find a fun and easy way to introduce organic foods into their family's diets - especially with a snack-like popcorn that their kids love - it's a perfect scenario."
Centers of Excellence Help Guide Innovation
ConAgra Foods' Centers of Excellence offer input that helps guide many of the company's innovations, such as the introduction of organic products. The Centers provide an important barometer of consumer trends and foundation for the company's consumer-focused product strategy. The Nutrition Center of Excellence, for example, works to ensure that products meet responsible nutrition standards, and the Culinary Center of Excellence tracks taste trends and works to integrate them into product lines.
About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies, serving consumer grocery retailers, as well as restaurants and other foodservice establishments. Popular ConAgra Foods consumer brands include ACT II, Armour, Banquet, Blue Bonnet, Brown 'N Serve, Butterball, Chef Boyardee, Cook's, Crunch 'n Munch, DAVID, Decker, Eckrich, Egg Beaters, Fleischmann's, Gulden's, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Kid Cuisine, Knott's Berry Farm, La Choy, Lamb Weston, Libby's, Lightlife, Louis Kemp, Lunch Makers, MaMa Rosa's, Manwich, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Parkay, Pemmican, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Rosarita, Ro*Tel, Slim Jim, Snack Pack, Swiss Miss, Van Camp's, Wesson, Wolf and many others. For more information, visit www.conagrafoods.com
(1) Organic Trade Association, 2004 report
(2) Organic Food Goes Mainstream, Florida Today, March 18, 2005
(3) Shopping for Health 2004, Food Marketing Institute/Prevention magazine