Frozen food makers plan PR campaign

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 12:00 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Frozen foods are about to get some badly needed image therapy.

With sales slipping in the category, frozen food makers are in the final stages of preparing a major public relations campaign to defend the nutritional reputation of their products. The push will include what are said to be the first national TV ads on behalf of the industry as a whole, as well as social media and in-store promotions.

Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute, confirmed that the industry trade group plans to launch the “multiyear, multimillion-dollar” campaign in early May.

He declined to provide details but said the thrust of the campaign would be to educate people that the freezing process is just a way to hit the “pause button” to lock in the nutrients of fresh food. It's the biggest marketing push on behalf of the industry to date and the first to include the national TV ads, according to the American Frozen Food Institute.

The group, based in McLean, Va., represents companies including Nestle USA, which makes Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine and Stouffer's, and Omaha-based ConAgra, which makes Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's.

The campaign comes as Americans are increasingly reaching for fresh foods. That has hurt the performance of many frozen foods, which are often seen as being processed and full of preservatives or sodium.

Between 2009 and last year, U.S. sales of frozen meals were down 3 percent at $8.92 billion, according to Euromonitor International. The market researcher is forecasting a decline of 2 percent more this year.

In addition to the industry campaign, companies are working behind the scenes to communicate the benefits of frozen foods to dietitians. The hope is that such health professionals will then pass on the message to their clients.

Nestle USA, for instance, later this month plans to present research it commissioned at the Experimental Biology conference that compares the nutrition of frozen foods to fast-food meals.

ConAgra Foods Inc. revamped its Healthy Choice meals to simplify the ingredients and is working on a public relations campaign to communicate the changes, said Jenn Freeman, vice president and general manager for the brand. That push has included reaching out to dietitians employed by supermarkets.

“We spent months educating each of these dietitians,” Freeman said.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


loading...

SPOTLIGHT »

Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail announcements@owh.com.

World-Herald Alerts

Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.