- Conagra is acquiring Thanasi Food, the upstart food manufacturer behind the Duke’s meat snacks brand, according to Fortune. Terms of the deal were not announced.
- The Duke’s and Bigs brands will be added to Conagra’s product portfolio, which already includes Slim Jim meat snacks, Chef Boyardee and David Seeds. Duke's brands include hatch green chile and hickory peach BBQ.
- In September, Conagra acquired Frontera Foods, a manufacturer of salsas and sauces.
Consumers are incorporating more protein in their diets, and food manufacturers are taking notice. Companies such as Hershey’s, General Mills and Tyson Foods have all invested in meat snacks, Greek yogurt and alternative-based proteins that come from plants in response to this trend. U.S. per capita meat consumption increased by almost 5% in 2015, the largest increase in 40 years.
Conagra has made a commitment to focus on consumer brands over the past year, which has led it to divest Ralcorp, the private label brands business, Spicetec and JM Swank. It also completed its spin-off of Lamb Weston.
These deals have allowed Conagra to strengthen its position in the snack sector. Snacking is more popular with millennials and members of Generation Z, who tend to be more concerned with their health. A study form the NPD Group found almost a quarter of all snack food eating now occurs during main meals. The purchase of trendy companies focused on proteins and snacks made with better-for-you ingredients is likely to continue as food manufacturers position themselves in an increasingly competitive food landscape.