Trail mix, meat snacks and pudding part of Conagra’s snack expansion

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP, which Conagra acquired in 2017 for $250m, will reach into the trail mix category in 2019.
Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP, which Conagra acquired in 2017 for $250m, will reach into the trail mix category in 2019.

Related tags: Conagra, Conagra foods, Snacks, Food for kids, Pudding, trail mix, Popcorn, Meat snacks, jerky, Earnings Call

Conagra’s legion of high-selling brands – including Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, Slim Jim and Snack Pack – are launching new products this year as the company cements its focus on the lucrative snacking market.

To kick off its 2020 fiscal year, beginning July 1 2019, the Chicago-based company announced a slew of debuts across its portfolio.

“We have a $2bn portfolio in snacking, which is the fastest-growing occasion in food,”​ said co-chief operating officer Tom McGough.

“Our slate of innovation in these areas will provide people with contemporary options that are supported by strong consumer trends.”​ 

Diversifying

Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP teased the official launch of its trail mixes earlier this year, after a limited run in 2018. The bags of nuts, fruit and popcorn are gluten-free, kosher and non-GMO, and made without artificial flavors or preservatives.

They are currently available at select US retailers, including Hy-Vee, Woodman’s and ShopRite.

  • The tropical flavor (9.5oz bag, RRP $4.99) blends yogurt-covered popcorn with kettle corn, banana chips and cashews, plus dried mango and pineapple.
  • The Mountain Mix (5oz bag, RRP $4.99) combines kettle corn, peanuts and pretzels with crunchy corn nuggets and almonds dusted in chile-lime seasoning.
  • The Sea Salt Caramel (7oz bag, RRP $4.99) features caramel popcorn, chocolate chunks and pretzels with peanuts and cashews.

Earlier this year, the brand also reached outside its traditional kernel offering with the release of white cheddar puffs, which it said fills a void in the market for an all-natural snack with ‘all-family appeal.’

We believe we can deliver our unique combination of huge flavor, real ingredients and an authentic brand with a live-out-loud attitude across multiple snacking formats,”​ the company told BakeryandSnacks.

“Wecontinue to look for opportunities to expand Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP into new categories that make sense for the brand.”

On the lighter side, it also debuted a lightly salted air-popped popcorn with only 35 calories per serving.

Sizing up

Slim Jim

Slim Jim – which remains a leader in the meat snack category, second only to Jack Link’s – will unveil a ‘giant multipack’ that holds six one-foot sticks per box (RRP $6.49). The larger size allows retailers to connect the brand from checkout to center-store, Conagra told us.

Meat snacks rising

A third of US consumers report eating meat snacks, according to FONA International. Asia, especially Thailand and Indonesia, welcomed the biggest number of meat snack launches in recent years, followed by the UK and Germany.

The brand is also diversifying into adjacent categories through pork rinds and ‘fire fries.’​ The rinds will be available in a Hot and Barbecue flavor, and the fries in a Buffalo and extra-hot ‘Inferno.’

Conagra bought Slim Jim as part of the Goodmark portfolio in 1998. In 2017, it announced plans to refresh the brand, adding flavors like Spicy Chili & Garlic and Memphis Style BBQ. It also scooped up Duke’s meat in March of that year for an undisclosed amount. Conagra’s CEO Sean Connolly emphasized the company’s “ongoing efforts to reshape our portfolio to be more premium and modern.”

In March, Conagra began a $70m, 68k-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing plant in Troy, Ohio, which produces about a billion Slim Jim sticks every year. New equipment will account for about $40m of the investment.

Colorful, fruity fun

Meanwhile, Snack Pack is capitalizing on the cultural popularity of dragons and fruity flavors with the new ‘Dragon Treasure’ pack.

Snack Pack Dragon

The bright green and red puddings come in a six-pack (RRP $2.79) with temporary dragon-themed tattoos. Online, kids can continue the adventure through treasure hunts, word searches and printable paper dragons.

Snack Pack’s standard flavors stick to classics like Chocolate, Vanilla and Butterscotch, but the brand has dabbled in the fruity side with Lemon and Banana Cream Pie. It also offers a Jello-like treat called Juicy Gels, available in flavors ranging from Strawberry and Lemon-Lime to Berry Blue and Orange.

Earlier this year, the brand launched a unicorn-themed pack of pastel pink and blue puddings.

Snack sales turn a new leaf

Conagra reported an overall 20% increase in net sales for its 2019 fiscal year, which closed at the end of June.

Connolly said a robust marketing program and an accelerated innovation strategy helped ‘improve the long-term health’ of the business.

Retail sales of its snack portfolio grew 6.5% in the fourth quarter, a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing quarter.

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