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Conagra Brands Taps into Footprint's Materials Science to Continue Progress Towards Meeting Sustainability Goals

·4 min read

Conagra expands use of bowls made from plant-based fibers through collaborative partnerships

CHICAGO and GILBERT, Ariz., Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Conagra Brands (NYSE: CAG) announced new products featuring bowls made from plant-based fibers for Healthy Choice Power Bowls, new Hungry-Man Double Meat Bowls and P.F. Chang's Ramen single-serve meals. By using plant-based fibers instead of plastic, the carbon footprint of manufacturing the bowls is reduced by 50 to 70 percent1 across select product lines. The expansion will help to decrease Conagra's carbon footprint by 34,117 metric tons, equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions of driving around the planet 3,399 times or 84 million miles2. This progress aligns with Conagra's January 2020 announcement that the company is striving to make 100 percent of its plastic packaging renewable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Conagra Brands, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. (PRNewsfoto/Conagra Brands)
Conagra Brands, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. (PRNewsfoto/Conagra Brands)

The plant-based fiber bowl is designed by Footprint, a sustainable materials science technology firm that designs alternative solutions to single-use plastic. Conagra initially partnered with Footprint in 2017 to develop packaging for its Healthy Choice Power Bowls product line, which included a first-of-its-kind bowl made from plant-based fibers that could replace plastic alternatives. The versatile material is microwave safe, non-stick and cooler to the touch than traditional plastic packaging. Since introducing the packaging in 2017, Conagra has avoided the use of more than 3.5 million pounds of plastic packaging.

"Plant-based fiber packaging is critical to helping Conagra Brands progress toward making 100 percent of our current plastic packaging renewable, recyclable or compostable by 2025," said Katya Hantel, senior director of sustainable development at Conagra Brands. "Innovative partners like Footprint have been invaluable in producing packaging that supports sustainable outcomes."

These packaging solutions are driven by highly collaborative, customized inventions from the Footprint team of materials scientists, who worked closely with Conagra to meet the needs of the three distinct product lines. The team is led by Troy Swope and Yoke Chung, previous Intel engineers, who saw the opportunity to pioneer the use of plant-based materials based on ingredients that can stand up to the robust quality and safety that single-use plastic delivers to consumers while eliminating plastics from reaching the environment.

"We've been able to create solutions for Conagra that won't sacrifice cost, quality or performance for the consumer," said Footprint CEO Troy Swope. "Our engineered fiber-based packaging solutions integrate with existing product manufacturing lines for a smooth transition away from single-use plastic. Conagra's use of plant-based fiber is proof that any company of any size can make incredible change for the betterment of the planet."

Conagra's current efforts to improve the sustainability of its packaging are part of the company's broader commitment to responsible sourcing, one of the four pillars of Conagra's corporate social responsibility and ESG efforts.

To see how Conagra is supporting a sustainable world, see the company's Citizenship Report. To learn more about Footprint's plastic-free alternatives, visit www.FootprintUS.com.

About Conagra Brands
Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG), headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit, Conagra Brands combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus on innovation. The company's portfolio is evolving to satisfy people's changing food preferences. Conagra's iconic brands, such as Birds Eye®, Duncan Hines®, Healthy Choice®, Marie Callender's®, Reddi-wip®, and Slim Jim®, as well as emerging brands, including Angie's® BOOMCHICKAPOP®, Duke's®, Earth Balance®, Gardein®, and Frontera®, offer choices for every occasion. For more information, visit www.ConagraBrands.com.

About Footprint
Footprint has a clear vision: eliminate single-use and short-term use plastics. Footprint designs, develops and manufactures technologies that are biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable. We make it easy for companies to switch out of plastic to preserve our future. We love our oceans and our planet, that's why we are revolutionizing industries to eliminate plastic pollution. The company was founded by former Intel engineers Troy Swope and Yoke Chung and employs more than 800 people. Footprint was named on Fast Company's prestigious list of the World's 2020 50 Most Innovative Companies. In 2019, Footprint was announced a winner of the prestigious NextGen Cup Challenge for its plant-based alternative manufacturing process for making cups and lids. It has already helped eliminate over 60 million pounds of plastic. The company is based in Gilbert, Ariz. For more information and a complete portfolio of Footprint solutions visit www.footprintus.com.

For more information, please contact:
Tim Wrona
312-549-5400
tim.wrona@conagra.com

______________________________

1 GaBi Packaging Calculator analysis courtesy of Footprint, accessed June 2020
2 GaBi Packaging Calculator analysis courtesy of Footprint, accessed June 2020

Cision
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SOURCE Conagra Brands, Inc.