New Research Points To Popcorn And Frozen Meals For Cutting Calories

Oct. 20, 2014

OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Those trying to look and feel better have more options when it to comes to midday snacks and meals, thanks to two new research studies presented by ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2014 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (FNCE®). The findings illustrate how popcorn can make people feel more full and satisfied, and single-serving frozen meals can help people eat less. These research studies, led by Kristin Reimers, PhD, RD, ConAgra Foods, reveal that popcorn and frozen meals are more satiating than snack and meal replacement bars. In fact, in the case of the frozen meal study, participants consumed fewer calories daily.

Registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet, Keri Gans, says, “This is great news for people who typically reach for popular meal replacement or snack bars when trying to cut calories, but want more flavorful food. While bars are convenient, eating a natural, high-fiber snack like popcorn or a convenient, hot meal like Healthy Choice® or Marie Callender’s® may be more satiating, as seen in these studies. This can translate into helping people eat less without feeling deprived.”

Popcorn vs. Snack Bar Study
Grocery aisles are packed with trendy snack bars promising various health benefits, which may be leading many to abandon traditional and healthful snack foods in favor of bars. In the popcorn study, researchers provided study participants 100 calories of either low-fat popcorn (Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop! ®), reduced-fat popcorn (Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Naturals®), a chewy granola bar or a fruit/nut bar. Participants were then asked to rate their feelings of hunger and fullness. Compared to bars, participants reported feeling more full and satisfied after eating both low-fat and reduced-fat popcorn.

Single Serving Frozen Meals vs. Meal Replacement Bar Study
Researchers compared frozen meals to meal replacement bars to determine which was more satisfying. Study participants’ usual lunches were replaced with either a Healthy Choice or Marie Callender’s frozen meal, or a meal replacement bar. Participants reported less hunger – and had less desire to eat in the afternoon – when they ate a frozen meal instead of a bar over three days. Replacing a typical meal with a frozen meal resulted in the greatest average calorie savings: 500 fewer calories daily, potentially adding up to 3,500 calorie savings weekly.

These findings build on previous research showing that popcorn is a highly satisfying snack choice, and portion-controlled frozen meals may help individuals reduce calories in an easy, convenient way. When people are searching for a satisfying way to reduce calories, enjoying a frozen single-serving mea or a 100 calorie popcorn snack are choices with clear benefits.

For more information about the studies, visit

Popcorn vs. Snack Bar Study
Once a week over four weeks, study participants came to the study center, were served a standard breakfast, and three hours later ate one of each of the four snacks (low-fat, reduced-fat popcorn, granola or fruit/nut bar) in random order. Participants were asked to rate their feelings of satiety before and thirty minutes after the snack. Participants reported higher satiety levels after eating both low-fat and reduced-fat popcorn as compared to bars.

Single Serving Frozen Meals vs. Meal Replacement Bar Study
Study participants ate all meals at the study center three days per week for three weeks. During the first week, participants ate a self-selected buffet lunch. During the second and third weeks, for three days each week, participant lunches were replaced with either a single serving frozen meal (Healthy Choice or Marie Callender’s providing 280 calories) or a meal replacement bar equal in calories. Other meals were not controlled for calories, but total calorie consumption was measured.

This research was supported by ConAgra Foods, Inc., and abstracts are available as of October 17, 2014, via

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®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's®, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim®, Snack Pack® 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, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with easy dinner recipes and more. For more information, please visit us at


Conagralogo 10283078

ConAgra Foods Wins Food Processor Of The Year Award

Dec. 17, 2013
Food Processing has named ConAgra Foods the 2013 Food Processor of the Year. "We understand how consumer behavior is changing," said Gary Rodkin, CEO since 2005, in a prepared...