Conagra CEO Sees New Consumer Behaviors Outlasting Pandemic

Conagra Brands Inc. said it is investing in added manufacturing capacity and marketing, aiming to maintain pandemic-driven sales momentum.

The coronavirus crisis has brought big food companies back into millions more homes, giving Conagra and its peers a chance to win over consumers who had dropped their brands for newer or trendier ones.

Companies such as Campbell Soup Co. and General Mills Inc. also have said they want to capitalize on the growth by expanding marketing and production.

Conagra Chief Executive Sean Connolly said Thursday that he expects the new enthusiasm for cooking and packaged foods to continue “well into the future.” The food giant is now adding production capacity for popcorn and some frozen meals.

“Even post-vaccines, people will be eating more at home,” Mr. Connolly said in an interview. “A lot of our consumers have made investments in their homes. They’ve learned they like cooking, and some people will emerge financially strapped.”

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