January 23, 2023

Conagra Brands, the food manufacturing giant known for its frozen food names including Bird’s Eye, Celeste Pizza and Marie Callender’s, has posted healthy net sales for its refrigerated and frozen food segment, which jumped 10.5% in its fiscal second quarter, ending November 27th, at $1.4 billion (€1.28bn).

Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly, has attributed the growth largely to the pandemic, when, unable to shop as often, consumers stocked up on frozen goods and perceptions of frozen food as bad or poor quality began to shift.

Speaking to another news source, Connolly said: “Our elevated focus on frozen and snacks could not have been more prophetic seven years ago. The quality of the food that was offered eight years ago in the frozen section was subpar.

“Frankly, the prices were too low and that led to the food quality not being up to consumer’s expectations. The prices in many of the frozen sections were locked at 99 cents or below for years, if not over a decade. The problem with that is food quality is not going to win at those prices. We said frozen is the optimum temperature state for today’s consumers, and frozen is just a temperature state. If you can dream it culinarily, we can freeze it.”

Connolly added that as well as educating consumers, and creating better products, the group focused on creating more enticing and provocative packaging.

“We knew people were going to be in the frozen section because there’s stuff there that they have to buy, whether it’s a bag of vegetables or a frozen pizza or a gallon of ice cream.

“But we learned a number of years ago that the provocativeness of your package design is a hugely important factor in getting the consumer to pause, look at your offering and say, wow, that is intriguing,” Connolly said.

In terms of outlook for next year, the company is raising its full year outlook for fiscal 2023, Conagra said. Organic net sales growth is expected to be 7% to 8% compared to fiscal 2022, adjusted operating margin is expected to be between 15.3% and 15.6%, and adjusted EPS is expected to be between $2.60 and $2.70, representing growth of 10% to 14% compared to fiscal 2022. For the report, click here.

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