New products from Duncan Hines, Healthy Choice, Angie’s Boomchickapop and more on tap.
Angie’s Boomchickapop is adding a rosé flavored kettle corn to its snack lineup. The limited-time offering is certified gluten-free.
“Angie's has been a great acquisition for us,” Mr. Connolly said. “If you're an Angie's fan, you know it's all about unique novel flavors. If you're part of the ‘rosé all day’ crowd, you will like this.”
Healthy Choice is making six of its popular Power Bowls recipes into handheld options with the launch of Healthy Choice wraps. One variety is the Adobo Chicken Wrap, featuring pulled chicken breast, pinto beans, vegetables, roasted pepitas and guajillo chili sauce rolled in a flour tortilla.
“Healthy Choice Power Bowls are a home run,” Mr. Connolly said. “We know we have our top 6 varieties that have extremely high velocities. We also know these consumers are always on the go. They can't take a bowl with them many times. We can drive incremental consumption by giving them a portable handholdable product with the same 6 varieties they already love in a cassava wrap that's inherently low in carbs. So a really new interesting line here from Healthy Choice that keeps the momentum on this franchise.”
Evol is adding keto-friendly frozen pizza to its portfolio, featuring grain-free crust made of chicken and parmesan cheese. The uncured pepperoni variety features mozzarella cheese with spicy uncured pepperoni sprinkled over a tomato marinara sauce.
“Evol is another good business that came with Pinnacle that hadn't received some attention in a while,” Mr. Connolly said. “This year, it will. It gets a full restage. In fact, this is my personal favorite. If you're on a low-carb diet, you probably feel like you can't eat pizza. Well, you can eat this pizza because the crust is not made of bread. It's made of chicken and parmesan cheese.”
Birds Eye is building out its lineup with new carb replacement offerings, such as lasagna with meat sauce featuring pasta made from vegetables. The dish include lentil zucchini pasta layered between a tomato beef sauce with three cheeses.
“Birds Eye is going to get a huge launch next year, supporting this year's launch,” Mr. Connolly said. “Remember, it lost its mojo about a year or so ago. The first place we'll start is carb-replacement trend. It's not slowing down. So this is an example of what we're doing there. Our veggie lasagna, where the pasta sheets are made with zucchini and lentil pasta.”
Conagra is tapping into “trending kid thematics” with new fun, experiential and buzzworthy products aimed at children, the company said. Examples include Llama Party cotton candy popcorn, Mermaid Splashes Snack Pack pudding, Swiss Miss hot cocoa with Lucky Charms marshmallows, Duncan Hines Rainbow Confetti cake mix, and Duncan Hines unicorn, mermaid and galaxy cake cups.
“There's a lot going on in pop culture with kids,” Mr. Connolly said. “You all know it. They love mermaids. They love unicorns. So we're doing a lot in kids. We're even getting into the act with llamas here on the ACT II business, which, believe it or not, is one of our fastest-growing brands. We're working with General Mills to license Lucky Charms for Swiss Miss. So a whole slate of things that we know are going to inspire our kids.”
New Chef Boyardee Veggie Pasta Cups feature pasta made with cauliflower. Available in Rings and Meatballs and Original Rings varieties, the cups provide ½ cup of vegetables.
“Even Chef Boyardee is going to get some love in the staples space this year,” Mr. Connolly said. “You saw us pursuing vegetable-based pastas in our Birds Eye business … why not do it in our shelf-stable business as well? We know our Chef Boyardee moms want to feel good about the products they give their kids, so why not give their kids a half a cup of vegetables per serving?”
Duncan Hines is debuting a line of cake-inspired refrigerated puddings. One variety features chocolate frosting and yellow cake flavored pudding.
Healthy Choice Power Bowls are gaining plant-based, vegan and vegetarian varieties inspired by trending restaurant recipes.
The vegan Green Goddess Power Bowl contains lentils and vegetables served atop brown and red rice, red quinoa and black barley with a green sesame tahini sauce topped with roasted pepitas.
The vegetarian Buddha Bowl includes chickpeas and vegetables served on top of barley, brown rice, red rice and red quinoa with a sesame tahini sauce topped with feta cheese and seeds.
“Healthy Choice Power platform will continue to get momentum,” Mr. Connolly said. “This year, we're getting into the vegan, vegetarian space. These are phenomenal lines. We've got inspiration from restaurant industry, things like Green Goddess, Buddha Bowls. These are truly terrific products. You can eat them as a meal or you can use them as side dish.”
Marie Callender’s is expanding its bowls offerings with reinvented classics such as white wine and butter shrimp macaroni and cheese and lasagna with meat and sauce.
“Marie Callender's … excellent restage this year,” Mr. Connolly said. “We need to keep the momentum next year. We'll do that with new variety expansion. One of the interesting things we're doing this year is this is our first foray into shrimp in the world of frozen. Why? Because shrimp don't usually hold up particularly well in microwave. Our chefs have solved for that. They've created a great sauce product that basically envelops the shrimp and protects it. This happens to be a mac and cheese bowl with shrimp, white wine and butter. It's fantastic.”
New P.F. Chang’s Home Menu ramen is packaged in frozen single-serve bowls. The ramen comes in such varieties as pork shoyu, containing ramen noodles, pork, scallions and mushrooms in broth.
“Ramen works,” Mr. Connolly said. “Millennials love ramen. But most times when millennials eat, they're alone. So multi-serve doesn't really meet that need. So it's a no-brainer that we take our ramen line that's working and bringing it to single-serve.”
Conagra’s Orville Redenbacher’s brand is introducing popcorn made with 100% avocado oil. Available in a sea salt variety, the popcorn contains 170 calories per 2-tablespoon unpopped serving.
“Orville Redenbacher's has been on the upswing in the past few years because we've made it healthier, packaging, the oils we use,” Mr. Connolly said. “We're taking that to the next level next year with avocado oil, a very self-evident benefit that we're confident our consumers will get.”
Conagra is featuring its Gardein plant-based meat alternatives in a range of new co-branded products. Including Birds Eye meatless Be’f lasagna, Birds Eye meatless garlic Chick’n and Healthy Choice meatless chipotle Chick’n Power Bowls.
“Another place we're leveraging Gardein is co-branding it with our icon brands,” Mr. Connolly said. “In the world of tech, you may remember the phrase Intel Inside. Well, in our world, we call it Gardein Inside. We're basically taking the meat out, and we're putting a plant-based meat in and we're branding that plant-based meat Gardein because Gardein has tremendous credentials for that. But we're doing it in concert with our icon brands because we're convinced that will drive the highest velocities and the fastest trial.”