Healthy Choice Cooks Up Innovation With Its Newest Frozen Entrees
'Dinner: Impossible' Chef Robert Irvine and Healthy Choice offer novel mealtime solutions with new Cafe Steamers frozen meals, panini and soup varieties
OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 12, 2007--Stepping up to consumer demand for fresh-tasting and healthful meal options, ConAgra Foods(R), one of North America's leading packaged food companies, is reinvigorating the grocery and frozen food aisles with three new product offerings, one of which incorporates a breakthrough cooking method for its Healthy Choice(R) brand - steaming. Healthy Choice's innovative Cafe Steamers (TM), as well as microwaveable Panini and new Soup varieties hit store shelves this summer.
The steaming innovation from Healthy Choice represents the fourth wave in the evolution of the frozen entree in America, which began in the 1950s with the original oven-baked, foil-wrapped TV dinner and progressed to microwaveable meals in the mid-1980s. Healthy Choice introduced a healthful version of the microwaveable frozen meal to consumers in the late 1980s and has now taken "healthy frozen entrees" to a new level with the introduction of Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers.
The new product line - Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers - is the first line of complete frozen meals that incorporates microwave steaming technology designed to maximize the individual components of an entire meal, preserving the flavor, texture and color of each ingredient. The Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers line utilizes a one-of-a-kind microwaveable Steam Cooker(TM) that circulates steam throughout the meal during cooking. The Steam Cooker is composed of a bowl, which contains the sauce, and a steamer basket, which nests above the sauce and contains the meat, vegetables and pasta or rice. Steam from the sauce cooks the meal components in the steamer basket; all the ingredients can then be combined after cooking, with the sauce bowl doubling as a serving bowl. This unique design, which separates the sauce from the other ingredients, allows components to retain their individual character and freshness, alleviating some key consumer barriers in traditional frozen microwave meals, including the inability to taste individual ingredients, excessive uniformity in flavor and texture, and unappetizing appearance. The revolutionary innovations of Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers provide full-flavor, as well as more healthful and convenient frozen meal options.
"Delivering healthful frozen entrees that taste great is a tremendous challenge that the entire frozen food category faces and is an important priority at Healthy Choice, and has been for almost 20 years," said Bill Partyka, vice president of Healthy Choice marketing. "Building on the strength of the steaming trend, combined with our packaging innovation, Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers has the ability to reinvigorate the category."
The new steaming technology has been applied to the entire Healthy Choice Cafe Selections line. In July 2007, 12 varieties of the new Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers hit grocery stores nationwide with a suggested retail price of $3.49. The restaurant-inspired varieties include Roasted Chicken Marsala, Beef Merlot, Chicken Margherita, Grilled Chicken Marinara, Chicken Tuscany, Cajun Style Chicken & Shrimp, Creamy Dill Salmon, General Tso's Spicy Chicken, Grilled Basil Chicken, Grilled Whiskey Steak, Grilled Chicken & Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo, and Roasted Chicken Chardonnay.
Furthering its strides forward in innovation and healthful eating, Healthy Choice launched its new line of Panini this past June. These sandwiches feature innovative packaging that evenly toasts and browns the bread to perfection right in the microwave for a crisp taste. The tray is designed to allow consumers to easily fold the two halves of the sandwich together and eat it on the go. The Healthy Choice Panini are the only panini in the marketplace made with the goodness of whole grain. Healthy Choice incorporates the ConAgra Foods breakthrough ingredient - Ultragrain(R) - an all-natural whole wheat flour that combines the nutritional benefits of whole grains with a taste and texture similar to traditional refined white flour products. They also provide one-third more fiber than current competitors and have only about half the fat of and less sodium than other brands. These are available in four delicious varieties, including Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella, Smoked Chicken, Philly Cheese Steak, and Chicken Basil, and have a suggested retail price of $3.09.
Healthy Choice also is introducing three new soup varieties that begin shipping in August 2007, including Italian Wedding, Minestrone, and Steak & Noodle, which are perfect lunch partners for the new Panini. Available in a 15-ounce can, Healthy Choice Italian Wedding Soup is made with hearty meatballs, spinach and tender cuts of carrots in a savory chicken broth. Healthy Choice Minestrone Soup is made with tender penne pasta and hearty cuts of carrots, celery, green beans and potatoes in a sweet and savory tomato base, and is available in a 14-ounce microwaveable bowl. The Steak & Noodle variety is made with tender chunks of beef and curly pasta with a rich and savory beef broth and is also available in a 14-ounce microwaveable bowl. The suggested retail price for a 15-ounce can is $2.09 - $2.19, while the suggested retail price for the 14-ounce microwaveable bowls is $2.49.
Preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2008, Healthy Choice has teamed up with Robert Irvine, chef and host of the popular cooking show Dinner: Impossible and soon-to-be-released cookbook "Mission: Cook," to help educate consumers on the new mealtime solutions now offered by Healthy Choice. The brand, like Irvine, always has been faced with the challenge of creating healthful meals within tight health and nutrition requirements, while still delivering great flavor and innovative solutions that make healthful meals possible.
"For years, I have been working with families and individuals to overcome cooking challenges in the kitchen, helping them to eat well in difficult circumstances. In today's society, cooking at home on a regular basis presents a challenge in itself," said Irvine. "Being able to prepare delicious, healthful meals without overwhelming home cooks with intensive time and skill requirements has always been a goal of mine, as everyone deserves to enjoy the culinary experience. The Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers, Panini and Soup varieties make tasty and healthful meals possible every day with these new convenient, user-friendly meal solutions."
ConAgra Foods has remained at the forefront of meeting the evolving needs of consumers by providing brands, such as Healthy Choice, that were established with health and wellness in mind. As one of the industry's pioneers in healthful convenience food, Healthy Choice has worked to infuse its products with flavor to meet new trends, while also delivering foods consumers enjoy. Healthy Choice is one of the only brands in this category that complies with the Food and Drug Administration's "healthy" requirements, defined as an implied nutrient content claim that characterizes a food that has "healthy" levels of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. And all Healthy Choice meals, including the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers, Panini and Soups, are certified by the American Heart Association for its heart-check program. The new line of Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers, in addition to the new Healthy Choice Panini and new Soup varieties, ensure that consumers don't have to compromise - with Healthy Choice they can continue to enjoy great-tasting foods that are also nutritious and convenient for their busy lifestyles.
About Healthy Choice
A brand of ConAgra Foods, Inc., Healthy Choice was introduced in 1988 with a commitment to great-tasting food, wholesome ingredients and quality nutrition to help people lead more enjoyable, balanced lives. From its original 10 entrees, the brand has grown to more than 200 products, offering distinctive packaging that lets consumers know it tastes great and is good for them. Healthy Choice continues to embrace the philosophy of offering foods made from real ingredients and prepared so as to maintain high-quality flavor and nutrition. From hearty soups to great-tasting meals, Healthy Choice products can be found in grocery stores nationwide. For further information, visit www.healthychoice.com.
About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE:CAG) is one of North America's leading packaged food companies, serving grocery retailers, as well as restaurants and other foodservice establishments. Popular ConAgra Foods consumer brands include: Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, Reddi-wip, PAM and many others.
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