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Conagra updates Slim Jim, hoping to appeal to young consumers

Jennifer Shanker
Production Assistant

One thing that the ever-adapting American consumer just can't live without is a well-stocked snack cabinet. What's changing is the types of snacks they’re reaching for. Conagra Brands (CAG), once primarily a frozen-food company, is shifting its focus in the American market to niche areas of the snacking industry.

“We play in areas we call neglected coves – meat snacks, popcorn, seeds, sweet treats,” said Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly on Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade.” “And those are all growing categories. And we have the fastest-growing business in those categories.”

Conagra (CAG) continues to strengthen its $2 billion snack business by expanding into new segments and updating older legacy brands. Some of the names in its snack portfolio include Boomchickapop popcorn, Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, Duke’s sausages, and a new 3-ounce Slim Jim Savage meat stick that has 18 grams of protein.

ConAgra Foods Slim Jim brand (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

The company, which also owns Healthy Choice and Birds Eye frozen foods, has been particularly monopolizing on the younger consumer’s shift to healthier and meatier snacks such as Slim Jim meat sticks. Millennials and Gen Zers are increasingly moving toward healthier options, instead of settling for things like potato chips and pretzels.

“Interesting things are happening like the movement away from carbs. So if you look at that trend, you then see the explosion of meat snacks. Meat snacks used to just appeal to teenage boys by and large,” said Connolly. “Now, it appeals to a much wider audience because it's squarely on trend with this whole keto-paleo environment.” (The ketogenic diet consists of high-fat, low-carb eating.)

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