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ConAgra Investing More In Snacks, Frozen Foods

By Paul Ziobro Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES BOCA RATON, Florida -(Dow Jones)- ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) is trying to grow its snacking and frozen foods businesses as it tries to capitalize on food shoppers' greater willingness to spend on wants rather than basic needs, Chief Executive Gary Rodkin said in an interview Tuesday. The shift is evident in the latest products that ConAgra has ready to hit supermarket shelves. ConAgra is bolstering its snacking portfolio with line extensions to its Slim Jim meat products and also debuting ready-to-eat Orville Reddenbacher's popcorn next month, moving the brand beyond its microwave popcorn. ConAgra will also introduce a frozen Greek yogurt product under its Healthy Choice brand in June which will be marketed as a portion-controlled snack. "We're not trying to spread our resources like peanut butter," Rodkin said on the sidelines at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Florida. Instead, more investments are being made in areas like snacks and frozen meals. ConAgra's strategy underscores how food manufacturers are trying to expand into growing categories to overcome little growth in the packaged food space. ConAgra is looking for acquisitions for growth as well, looking for deals in private-label food space, adjacent branded categories and in international markets. Rodkin said that while shoppers are "trying to squeeze every nickel they can" on pantry staples, they're willing to indulge on products like desserts. That's one reason behind the introduction of Marie Callender's single-serve pies. "That's not a necessity but they want it," Rodkin said. ConAgra and other food maker do still face a difficult environment. While Rodkin declined to comment on trends in their current fiscal third-quarter, he said that weak results reported by other food makers like J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM) and General Mills Inc. (GIS) are "across companies, categories, retailers." Rodkin said the weak trends are due to consumers reluctant to spend after food manufacturers put most of the price increases into the market. "It's the cumulative effect of the pricing that's taken effect over the last six to nine months," Rodkin said. ConAgra on Tuesday did back its guidance for the fiscal year. Rodkin said that most of the earnings growth will occur in the fiscal fourth quarter when cost comparisons from a year ago were easier. ConAgra shares were up slightly, at $26.65, in Tuesday trading. -By Paul Ziobro, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2194; paul.ziobro@dowjones.com

Stock News for Smuckers J M (SJM)
DateTimeHeadline
04/26/201608:13:00Smucker Partners with Seven Team USA Athletes for the Rio 2016...
04/22/201617:15:00The J. M. Smucker Company Declares Dividend And Announces Annual...
04/22/201617:02:59Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/18/201617:45:25Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/06/201616:15:00The J.M. Smucker Company Announces Retirement of Corporate Officer...
04/05/201617:23:35Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/05/201617:20:09Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/04/201617:01:03Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/01/201618:29:31Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/30/201618:15:35Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/24/201617:11:54Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/18/201616:52:56Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/08/201616:15:00The J.M. Smucker Company Announces Executive Appointments
03/07/201620:30:00Smucker Names Mark T. Smucker CEO
03/07/201616:16:44Current Report Filing (8-k)
03/07/201616:15:00The J.M. Smucker Company Announces Leadership Transition to Foster...
02/23/201609:50:00Smucker Profit Rises 15%
02/23/201607:16:11Current Report Filing (8-k)
02/23/201607:00:00The J. M. Smucker Company Announces Fiscal 2016 Third Quarter...
02/10/201610:21:32Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)

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