ConAgra plans to expand and improve an Orville Redenbacher popcorn plant in Rensselaer, Ind., creating as many as 24 jobs. The $15.6 million investment will include the addition of four packing lines and a revamp of the quality-assurance laboratory.
ConAgra is touting its own name alongside its popular brands, which include Chef Boyardee, ACT II popcorn and Hunt's tomato sauce. The goal of the new national campaign is to market the entire company -- not just individual brands -- to retailers and investors.
Companies are getting pickier about which brands to back as private labels continue to grow. ConAgra, which sells Orville Redenbacher popcorn, is putting less muscle behind its Act II popcorn brand, and Kraft has divested lagging brands including Minute Rice and Grape Nuts.
ConAgra is slowly revamping its brands, including updates on Healthy Choice microwaveable meals, low-sodium Orville Redenbacher popcorn and a sleekly packaged PAM Professional cooking spray. Though analysts applaud the company's efforts, critics say the company should focus more on innovation and less on existing brands.
As consumers turn their focus to health and convenience when making shopping decisions, the price of items in food markets is losing some importance, one British researcher says. While price is still a factor for consumers, food companies are taking advantage of the trend and offering more "good for you" foods.