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ConAgra CEO: Food Industry Needs More 'Magic'

Food manufacturers are "all really struggling for growth," and the industry needs to "find a bit of magic" -- meaning innovation and brand excitement -- to stimulate that growth, said ConAgra Foods CEO Gary M. Rodkin, in a video interview with Supermarket News during this week's GMA Executive Conference.

The industry's tenor has "turned a bit more toward commoditization than I would like to see" in recent times, Rodkin said. "I would like to see us continue to work on the productivity side to drive the costs down, but then take that fuel and reinvest it in innovation and marketing, so we can capture a little bit more interest from the consumer...make the business more exciting for people, both from the employee and shopper standpoint, and get that sustainable, profitable growth back."

The business is "all about" brand equities, Rodkin stressed. "We've got great retail partners, we've got great brands, and we need to take more advantage of that. We're in people's everyday lives, multiple times a day, yet we allow ourselves to get pushed back a bit in terms of interest."

Whereas consumers buzz about topics like telecomms, new devices and hot apparel items, "the food side just doesn't get that general level of excitement like we used to," he added. "We need to grab that back."

Tags: food, innovation
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