Conagra Brands
Our brands have become household staples over our more than 100 year history. We're proud of our beginnings as a regional milling company to now a global consumer packaged goods company focused on being the most impactful, energized and inclusive culture in food

Check out how some of our 100+ brands got their start below.

Orville Redenbacher's

No individual is better associated with popcorn than Orville Redenbacher. Born in Brazil, Indiana in 1907, Orville attended Purdue University, and graduated in 1928 with a degree in agronomy. After college, Orville spent years working on Indiana farms perfecting the art of cross-pollenating to find the perfect popcorn hybrid that would pop lighter and fluffier than any other. He’s estimated to have spent 40 years crossbreeding 30,000 popcorn hybrids.

In 1952, Orville and business partner Charlie Bowman purchased a hybrid seed corn business which would become the world’s largest producer of popcorn seed. Even after he sold the business, Orville would remain the face of the brand, telling America “You’ll like it better or my name isn’t Orville Redenbacher,” in television commercials that ran for two decades. 

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Birds Eye
Fascinated by natural sciences since childhood, Clarence Birdseye learned ice fishing from native Inuit while on U.S. Department of Agriculture field assignments in Labrador, Canada from 1912 to 1915. Birdseye saw that Inuit methods of flash freezing their catches under Arctic temperatures offered a fresher alternative to the slow-freezing methods employed by seafood merchants in the States. When Birdseye received a U.S. patent for his quick freeze machine in 1927, the era of frozen food was officially born.

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Chef Boyardee
Namesake founder Hector Boiardi was born in the Northwest Italian town of Piacenza in 1897. When Hector came to America in 1914, he sharpened his culinary skills as a member of the staff at New York’s famed Plaza Hotel. Over the years that followed, Hector catered for President Woodrow Wilson and, in 1924, opened an immediately popular Italian restaurant in Cleveland, Il Giardino d’Italia.

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Marie Callender's
After answering a help-wanted ad for a local delicatessen in 1948, Marie Callender began to bake pies for the shop out of her home. The pies were so popular that the deli owner encouraged her to expand her business and sell to other restaurants. With the help of her husband and son, the family made and sold 200 cream and fruit pies every day, before opening the Marie Callender’s Pie Shop. Today’s Conagra operations churn out 200,000 frozen apple pies daily.

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Slim Jim

Adolph “Al” Levis began his career as a salesman at age 16 during the Great Depression, hawking spices and condiments to Philadelphia taverns and delis. With dried meat snacks on the rise in the 1940’s, he partnered with local meatpacker Joseph Cherry to create a snack-sized offering suitable for bars. His initial logo featured a man with a top hat and cane that he dubbed “Slim Jim.”

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In 1946, the Crown Cork and Seal Company presented the first seamless, lined aerosol canister, which caught the attention of food salesman Aaron “Bunny” Lapin. Lapin saw the cans as an ideal vehicle for his whipped cream substitute, Sta-Whip. Two years later, Reddi-wip was born and milkmen in St. Louis began delivering it door-to-door.

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Gardein was created by Canadian chef Yves Potvin with a focus on delivering plant-based alternatives with the taste, quality, and texture of meat. The first frozen products were sold in 2009, and as the number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians across North America has grown, so has the Gardein portfolio, which now includes plant-based alternatives to beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and seafood.

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Hebrew National
Immigrant butcher Theodore Krainin founded the Hebrew National Kosher Sausage Factory in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood in 1905. Upon first inspection his facility was cited as having “higher standards than the law requires.“ Those high standards continue to guide the brand to this day.

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Swiss Miss

Swiss Miss hot cocoa was invented by Charles Sanna of Sanna Dairies. With a surplus of dairy creamer following the Korean War, Sanna tinkered with a recipe by adding sugar and chocolate to create a hot cocoa mix. The business originally found success selling to airlines and restaurants in the 1950’s; guests were notorious for swiping extra packets.

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The name Wish-Bone is a nod to the Kansas City fried chicken restaurant where the brand was born. Phillip Sollomi returned from World War II and opened a restaurant with his mother, Lena. Her Sicilian family recipe for Italian salad dressing became the star attraction, and her son soon started selling it by the barrel.

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Wolf Brand Chili
Who’s the wolf in Wolf Brand Chili? His name was Kaiser Bill, and he was the pet of founder Lyman T. Davis. Beginning in 1895, Davis sold bowls of his chili on a Corsicana, Texas street corner for five cents. His trusty companion served as the brand’s original mascot.

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Duncan Hines

As a traveling salesman, Duncan Hines knew a thing or two about finding a good meal. His career selling stationary supplies coincided with the rise of America’s automobile culture. Hines took copious notes on the best roadside eats, and in 1936 his “Adventures in Good Eating” guide book was first sold for one dollar. With his reputation for good taste now established, he founded his namesake collection of foods in 1952.

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Videos from the Archives

Swiss Miss
Orville Redenbacher
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