From: Paul Geary, ENN
Published May 3, 2005 12:00 AM

Hunt's, Orville Redenbacher's to Launch Organic Products

CHICAGO — The mainstreaming of organic food continues. Food giant ConAgra announced that two of its well-known brands will be offering organic products --Hunt's Organic tomatoes and Orville Redenbacher's Organic Microwave Popcorn -- later this year. The announcement came at the 2005 Food Marketing Institute Show this week in Chicago.


Representing about 2% of U.S. grocery receipts, organic foods are moving from niche to mainstream market status, with annual sales growing by 20% in recent years. Estimated consumer purchases in 2007 will be $30 billion, up from $10.4 billion just two years ago.


More than half of grocery shoppers say they would buy more organic foods if they were available in their stores, according to a recent Food Marketing Institute/Prevention Magazine study.


"Our research shows Americans today want greater variety of good food choices to help them as they shop and prepare meals to satisfy their individual needs and tastes. Many are looking to improve their family's diets by taking small, sensible steps, not wholesale change," said Dr. Pat Verduin, senior vice president and director, Product Quality and Development, ConAgra Foods. "For a growing number, this means including organic products as a quality, wholesome part of their family's daily menu."


"There's a growing segment of young families who buy or would consider buying organic versions of the foods they already eat," said Valerie Sheppard, vice president, Brand Marketing, Hunt's. "The introduction of Hunt's Organic reflects our commitment to providing an even greater variety of choices."


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The new Hunt's and Orville Redenbacher's products will bear the "USDA Organic" seal, verifying they were produced using certified organic practices, such as no synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.


Hunt's Organic Tomatoes


Hunt's plans to bring six new organic canned tomato products to retailer shelves this September. In four test markets earlier this year, consumers reacted enthusiastically to Hunt's Organic tomato products, ringing up strong sales.


Orville Redenbacher's Organic Microwave Popcorn


Orville Redenbacher's Organic Microwave Popcorn is being introduced as organic snack food sales show particularly strong growth. Organic snack sales jumped 30% in 2003, making it the second fastest-growing organic category, according to data from the Organic Trade Association.


Orville Redenbacher's plans to offer its new certified organic butter-flavored popcorn in October, in three-pack cartons. "Parents are always looking for nutritious snacks for kids," said Dan O'Connor, brand director, Orville Redenbacher's. "If they can find a fun and easy way to introduce organic foods into their family's diets - especially with a snack-like popcorn that their kids love - it's a perfect scenario."


About ConAgra Foods


ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies. The company has about 39,000 employees and its 2004 revenues were more than $14.5 billion. ConAgra owns dozens of well known food brands; the company's website is www.conagrafoods.com.


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