ConAgra Foods, a diversified foods company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the second largest food company in North America, operating in 35 countries and employing 85,000 people. Its products span the food chain: ConAgra Foods provides seeds, fertilizer, and chemicals for crops; trades grains, beans, and other agricultural commodities internationally; mills flour, corn, and feed; supplies ingredients to food and beverage processors; and processes beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, seafood, and freshwater fish. ConAgra is the largest supplier in North America to food service operations such as restaurants, cafeterias, and schools. It is also the second largest grocery supplier of frozen, refrigerated, and shelf-stable goods. ConAgra Foods' eighty products include Healthy Choice, Banquet, Swiss Miss, Hunts Tomato, Butterball, Bumble Bee, Wesson Oils, and Country Pride.
ConAgra Foods was incorporated in 1919 as Nebraska Consolidated Mills, the result of a merger of four flour mills across central Nebraska: Ravenna Mill, Hastings Mills, St. Edward Mill, and Glade Milling in Grand Island, where Nebraska Consolidated Foods made its headquarters. A merger with Updike Mills of Omaha in 1922 doubled the company's milling capacity and resulted in moving the headquarters to Omaha. An early success was the development of Duncan Hines Cake Mix in 1951. Nebraska Consolidated Mills's first venture beyond Nebraska was the construction of a flour mill in Decatur, Alabama, in 1941. Its first venture beyond the continental United States was the construction of the Molinos (Mills) de Puerto Rico, which opened in 1959.
In 1971 Nebraska Consolidated Mills was renamed ConAgra, which in 2000 became ConAgra Foods. The company has grown rapidly since 1976, largely through extensive acquisitions, including Peavey, Armour, and Monfort, and now ranks sixtieth overall in revenues on the Fortune 500 list.
William J. Corcoran University of Nebraska at Omaha