Conagra sees ‘opportunity’ to sell frozen meals to those on weight loss drugs

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) – U.S. packaged foods firm Conagra Brands sees an “opportunity” to sell more frozen meals, meat snacks and popcorn to people using weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, executive Tom McGough said Tuesday at an industry conference.

Investors have worried that U.S. food companies will see sales slide as more people use weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, which curb appetite and lead to feelings of fullness.

Chicago-based Conagra, which makes Healthy Choice frozen meals, Bertolli Italian foods, and Duncan Hines cake mixes, previously said it may have to scale down portions to court consumers using the medications.

“If anything, we see opportunity within our portfolio,” McGough said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference in Boca Raton, Florida.

He said that data from market research firm Numerator shows that consumption of “better-for-you” frozen meals increases 8% among people using the weight-loss drugs.

“Well, why is that? Well, frozen meals are portion-controlled,” McGough said. “They provide vegetable nutrition and they’re high in protein.”

McGough also expects users of the weight-loss medications, called “GLP-1 agonists,” to eat more of the company’s snacks like Slim Jim beef jerky and Angie’s Boomchickapop popcorn.

“That’s because meat snacks are high in protein and popcorn is a low-calorie, high-fiber food and among GLP-1 users, consumption of both meat snacks and popcorn increase,” he said.

Conagra’s competitors, including Kraft Mac and Cheese maker Kraft Heinz and Pringles manufacturer Kellanova, may also face questions from Wall Street analysts on the impact of the drugs on their sales at the conference.

General Mills CEO Jeffrey Harmening said at the conference that his company was introducing new products to “meet evolving consumer weight management and nutrition needs.”

Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese has a new “Super Mac” offering with more protein, for instance, while General Mills is also launching “a protein-forward Progresso soup line and bringing lower sugar offerings to our Betty Crocker cakes, cookies and brownies,” Harmening said. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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