Main own plant-based brands
Gardein, Birds Eye, Orville Redenbacker’s. ACT II and Angie’s (popcorn), DAVID – (seeds), BIGS (seeds), Peter Pan peanut butter, Healthy Choice (some products), Reddi-wip (some products), Evol (some products), Earth Balance (some products).
- Conagra’s exposure to animal proteins is unclear; however, it is likely that that segments that comprise nearly 57% of the company’s revenues in 2018 are exposed to animal proteins.
- The company’s acknowledgement on the materiality of protein diversification is cautious. However, the leadership sees the plant-based market as a significant driver of growth for the company. They are innovating to expand plant-based choices in their traditional brands and made a strategic investment of $10.9 billion dollars in 2018 to acquire Pinnacle Foods, which houses the Gardein and Birds Eye brands – brands that have a significant market share in alternatives and frozen vegetables categories.
- On the sourcing side, the company’s animal protein strategy is primarily focussed on welfare issues except for beef, where they are working to mitigate deforestation risks. The company has reported undertaking a risk assessment on protein sources, which positions them to lead their peers on prioritizing what they call ‘sustainably advantaged’ ingredients in their product profile.
- The company is also the only company in FAIRR’s sustainable protein engagement that has assessed its portfolio against the EAT-Lancet recommended food group proportions.
- The company has said they plan to report on a ‘protein diversification’ strategy in 2019; we would encourage the company to begin by tracking and disclosing its sourcing of animal versus plant-based ingredients.
- We also encourage the company to strengthen its sustainability work in animal proteins as well as build a more strategic plan to transition its product portfolio (through, for example, brand/business segment targets) to ensure any exposure to animal proteins is in line with a low-carbon strategy.
Protein diversification impacts 3 material issues in Conagra’s 2018 Citizenship Report (climate change, water consumption and sustainable sourcing), two of which (climate change and water availability) are also noted in Conagra’s 2018 Annual Report (Form 10-K) as risks relating to our business. Recent research from EAT-Lancet and other organizations has outlined the positive climate change and water conservation impacts of plant-based proteins. Due to climate change, water, land use and other environmental advantages, plant-based proteins can support Conagra’s sustainable sourcing strategy.
Conagra is a 2018 signatory of the Science Based Target Initiative, which includes development of Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG reduction targets by 2020 to comply with a 1.5-2 degrees C warming scenario. Part of the goal-setting process is a Scope 3 emissions screen inclusive of soft commodities to inform the GHG target, and Conagra has internally completed this Scope 3 screen covering more than 20 soft commodity categories.
Conagra’s primary sustainability strategy for pork, poultry, eggs and dairy is to source almost entirely from US farms to supply US manufacturing sites, minimizing the transportation footprint of our animal protein supply chain.
Conagra Brands indicated that it is considering developing and establishing formal metrics to track the company’s exposure to animal-derived ingredients. The company has begun to assess their reliance on animal ingredients using a mass metric to understand protein conversion. However, no further detail was shared at this stage. We have completed our plant-based ingredient assessment for legacy Conagra brands and are working to integrate Pinnacle legacy brands to the assessment. The initial assessment shows that more than 50% of protein we purchase is from plant sources.
We have also assessed our legacy Conagra portfolio against the EAT-Lancet goals for food group proportions. EAT Lancet calls for vegetables to comprise 22% of the diet (by weight). In our initial assessment, vegetables comprise 16% of Conagra portfolio ingredients. Similarly, whole grains are 17% of the EAT-Lancet guidelines, and the Conagra portfolio is comprised of 12% whole grains. Although preliminary, this assessment indicates a promising comparison to EAT-Lancet goals.