Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers for ConAgra
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Delivering a fresher, better-tasting meal solution
ConAgra Foods’ consumer brands — from Orville Redenbacher popcorn to Hebrew National hot dogs and PAM cooking spray — stock the shelves of 96 percent of US households. Looking to introduce innovation in the shelf-stable category, ConAgra asked IDEO to partner in identifying growth opportunities through new products and packaging.
IDEO’s team learned through research with parents and children that despite a need for “on-the-go” convenience, consumers are also looking for fresher, more engaging meal solutions that can provide a number of benefits. Customization of flavor, transparency of ingredients, and an experience that builds off existing cooking behaviors. These insights inspired the idea behind Healthy Choice’s Fresh Mixers, a product that is predicted to generate over $100 million in revenue.
IDEO’s multi-disciplinary team, in close collaboration with ConAgra, developed packaging that allows consumers to add water, boil uncooked rice or pasta in the microwave and then strain before eating - a process reminiscent of stovetop cooking. The final step involves combining the cooked starch together with one of six varieties of meat or vegetarian sauces to create a complete, healthful meal in less than five minutes.
The innovative packaging configuration is comprised of a strainer, bowl, and sauce container. The unique design delivers a fresher, more flavorful product. Integral to introducing this new packaging concept was simple, straight-forward instructional communication.
The Fresh Mixers concept has evolved into a new product offering for ConAgra, allowing the company to expand its portfolio further into the competitive shelf-stable meal category. The initial 2008 launch included six flavors under the Healthy Choice brand, and a national ad campaign. Additionally, a partnership with Ivanka Trump promoted “Lunch Trade” events with office workers in major cities. Fresh Mixers meals have also been featured on ABC’s Ugly Betty as the lunchtime choice of receptionist, Amanda, who likes them as a low-calorie meal that can be stored in her office drawer.
ConAgra plans to expand Fresh Mixers with more flavor varieties. The products can currently be found in the shelf stable aisle.
Project date: 2008