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New Research Indicates Ounce for Ounce, Frozen Meals Provide the Same or Better Calorie and Nutrient Benefit Than Pricier Diet Programs

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It turns out pricey diet meals aren’t the only convenient portion-controlled meal option for weight management, according to new research presented by ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) at Experimental Biology (EB) 2015. The study led by Kristin Reimers, PhD, RD, ConAgra Foods, found that ounce for ounce, single-serve frozen meals widely available in grocery stores often provide the same or better calorie and nutrient benefits as meals available exclusively through weight loss centers or websites.

“Many think there is something nutritionally unique about the meal options that come with a contract and hefty price tag, and that’s just not the case! Certain pre-portioned frozen meals, like those from Healthy Choice(R), are flavorful and satisfying and provide the same benefits for those managing their weight,” says registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet, Keri Gans. “Not only are frozen meals generally less expensive and more accessible than diet meals, like those from Jenny Craig(R) and NutriSystem(R), they also offer equal – or better – calorie, saturated fat and sodium savings as the diet program meals. What more could you ask for?”

The study compared perceptions about single-serve frozen meals widely available in stores and single-serve meals (diet meals) available through weight loss membership centers or websites. In the study, 114 adult women, blinded to the brands, evaluated three ravioli meals (Healthy Choice representing a frozen meal and Jenny Craig and NutriSystem representing diet meals) for their sensory characteristics and descriptive attributes. Results showed that they preferred the flavor and sauce of Healthy Choice. In side- by-side comparisons, the participants preferred the Healthy Choice meal overall and significantly more women found the Healthy Choice meal to be fresh (74%), healthy (71%), and made with natural ingredients (61%), compared to the other two meals. Additionally, the researchers found that awareness of nutrition facts improved participants’ perceptions about frozen meals. When the study participants became aware that an average Healthy Choice frozen meal offers the same or lower calories, saturated fat and sodium content as equal portions of an average diet meal, the percentage of women who intended to use frozen meals like Healthy Choice to help them manage their weight rose from 51% to 85%.

Frozen meals and entrees, like Healthy Choice, offer a better value than meals and entrees from commercial weight loss programs, even before shipping and membership fees are applied. This study suggests a great-tasting and cost-effective weight management strategy might be as close as your freezer.

This research was supported by ConAgra Foods, Inc., and abstracts are available via www.ConAgraFoodsScienceInstitute.com.

ABOUT CONAGRA FOODS

ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) is one of North America’s largest packaged food companies with branded and private branded food found in 99 percent of America’s households, as well as a strong commercial foods business serving restaurants and foodservice operations globally. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet(R), Chef Boyardee(R), Egg Beaters(R), Healthy Choice(R), Hebrew National(R), Hunt’s(R), Marie Callender’s(R), Orville Redenbacher’s(R), PAM(R), Peter Pan(R), Reddi-wip(R), Slim Jim(R), Snack Pack(R) and many other ConAgra Foods brands, along with food sold by ConAgra Foods under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club and drug stores. Additionally, ConAgra Foods supplies frozen potato and sweet potato items as well as other vegetable, spice, and bakery goods to commercial and foodservice customers. ConAgra Foods operates ReadySetEat.com, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with easy dinner recipes and more. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.

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