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Doner lands ConAgra deal worth $6 million


After several months of angling for the promotional marketing account of ConAgra's popular Healthy Choice line of frozen foods, W. B. Doner & Co. said yesterday that it has landed the $6 million piece of business.

Doner's programs for Healthy Choice will be aimed at increasing the shelf space that supermarkets give to the low-salt, low-cholesterol frozen dinners, heightening consumer interest through buying incentives and possibly expanding the product line, said Jim Dale, the agency's president.

Baltimore-based Doner competed against several other agencies for the ConAgra business, which comes on top of a $30 million account it won in conjunction with a European outfit from BP Oil Europe last week.

Healthy Choice, founded by Charles M. Harper, Omaha-based ConAgra's chairman, in 1989 after he suffered a heart attack several years ago, has become one of the food company's hottest products with sales near $300 million in its first year.

"Healthy Choice is the hottest thing to happen to the frozen-food market in a long time. People are very concerned about nutrition and lifestyle," said Donald Riesett, Doner's vice chairman of account management.

However, other big-name food-makers such as Stouffer, Campbell, Weight Watchers and Kraft have been cutting in on the healthy frozen food market and Healthy Choice is positioning itself to remain strong, Mr. Riesett said. Doner said its promotional programs for Healthy Choice will begin to hit the market in the spring.

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