OMAHA, Neb., March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's, brands of ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE: CAG), are helping consumers to better understand the benefits of frozen meals and experience frozen foods in a new way. Inspired by emerging technologies and current trends in augmented reality, the Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's brands created a visionary video that follows two women on the adventures of their daily lives, imagining how new technologies will impact their routines, especially in the grocery store. From organizing their shopping lists to accessing product reviews and nutrition information in real time, the video imagines how consumers will leverage new technologies to elevate their shopping experience.
Streamlining the way consumers shop will be key, making it easier, more convenient and an intuitive part of their daily lives, rather than a chore. As technology advances, consumers will be able to learn more about the food they're buying and eating, download coupons directly to their loyalty card and optimize the best route around the grocery store based on their shopping list.
Along with the video, Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's hope to change consumer perceptions about frozen foods by demystifying some of the most common misperceptions about the $55 billion industry.1 Consumers want to learn more about the food they eat – where it comes from and how it's made – and a recent survey from ConAgra Foods revealed that taste, nutritional benefits and cost are among the top reasons Americans are hesitant to purchase frozen food.2
Fact: Frozen food is made with real, fresh tasting ingredients
Some consumers have been apprehensive to shop the frozen food aisle due to false stigmas around the category. The survey revealed that 80 percent of people agree that frozen foods are highly processed.3 In fact, the vegetables in Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's frozen meals are picked at the peak of freshness and blanched before being frozen; a technique many home cooks use. Most vegetables' journey from farm to freezer happens within 24 hours to preserve color, texture and maximum freshness.
"Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's are here to tell the story of frozen meals and help consumers make better shopping decisions while walking through the frozen aisle," says Rob McCutcheon, president Consumer Foods Frozen of ConAgra Foods. "What consumers will see, and what we hope to convey through the video, is that frozen meals can have a place in your busy life and can be just as delicious as homemade."
Marie Callender's and Healthy Choice frozen meals are created by chefs in kitchens in the United States, using quality ingredients, keeping nutrition and taste in mind. They are developed to give families access to quality ingredients like crisp vegetables, al dente pasta and delicious fruit year-round. These chef inspired meals look for solutions to add great flavor like apples instead of sugar for tart sweetness and a splash of red wine instead of added salt.
Fact: Frozen food can be nutritious
In fact, the FDA has stated there is virtually no nutritional difference between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.4 Another benefit to frozen meals is that they are pre-portioned providing a tasty alternative to meal replacements like bars and shakes. Portion control is a strong evidence-based strategy for weight management as recommended by Dietary Guidelines for America. As a part of this effort, Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's have also partnered with nutritionist Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N, to share the nutritional benefits of frozen foods.
Fact: Buying frozen food can save money and prevent waste
The National Resource Defense Council estimates that 40 percent of food goes uneaten each month in the United States. Not surprisingly, the Eco Pulse Survey from the Shelton Group reports 39 percent of Americans feel the most "green guilt" for wasting food, almost double the number who feel guilty about not recycling. Because so many Americans are wasting food, Supermarket Guru and food trends expert Phil Lempert suggests purchasing frozen foods.
"Frozen fruits and vegetables are typically harvested and flash frozen, which slows the loss of nutrients compared to their raw counterparts in which the nutrients continue to degrade over time," says Lempert, a ConAgra Foods spokesperson. "Some raw produce can spend as much as half of its peak freshness period in distribution."
The way Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's freeze their foods to last longer is very similar to the way families freeze their leftover meals in their own kitchens retaining the great care and quality that went into preparing the meals.
ABOUT HEALTHY CHOICE
From quick lunches and tasty dinners cooked to perfection, to delicious treats, Healthy Choice offers a variety of healthy foods. For more information on all Healthy Choice offers, visit HealthyChoice.com. Visit www.facebook.com/healthychoice to learn more.
ABOUT MARIE CALLENDER'S
For more than 50 years, Marie Callender's has been providing homemade taste through comforting dinners, bakes, pot pies and desserts. For more information on Marie Callender's, visit www.mariecallendersmeals.com.
ABOUT CONAGRA FOODS
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies. Its balanced portfolio includes consumer brands found in 97 percent of America's households, the largest private brand packaged food business in North America, and a strong commercial and foodservice business. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's® popcorn, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim® beef jerky, Snack Pack® and many other ConAgra Foods brands, plus food sold under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club stores and drugstores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong commercial foods presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. ConAgra Foods operates ReadySetEat.com, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with Dinner Ideas and more. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
1 IRI Panel All Outlets, 52 weeks ending February 17, 2013
2-3 The survey results are from a nationally representative online survey of 1,013 Americans that was conducted by Braun Research from March 4-7, 2013. The margin of error is +/-3%.
4 FDA Report, 1998
SOURCE ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Lindsay Henry, Ketchum, +1-312-228-6877, Lindsay.Henry@ketchum.com; Lanie Friedman, ConAgra Foods, +1-630-857-1086, Lanie.Friedman@ConAgraFoods.com, www.conagrafoods.com