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OMAHA -- For the second consecutive year, ConAgra Foods here is sponsoring the World's Championship Chili Cookoff -- bringing the event to ConAgra's headquarters on Oct. 6-8, 2006. Thousands of cooks will compete at the Cookoff to create a "super bowl" of chili, with up to $30,000 in prize money up for grabs.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the World's Championship Chili Cookoff, which attracted an estimated 10,000 chili fans last year, and is expected to provide a boost to the local economy and put Omaha on the map as a chili capital.
Company officials said the Chili Cookoff provides a great opportunity for ConAgra Foods to showcase its brands that provide the perfect ingredients for chili recipes, including Hunt's tomatoes, Gebhardt chili powder, Ro*Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, Gilroy Foods garlic and Wesson Oil, all of which will be highlighted throughout the sponsorship.
In addition, sponsorship of the Chili Cookoff has been a successful strategy for ConAgra Foods -- especially as a way to leverage its corporate muscle to drive consumer appeal for its brands.
"The world is returning to Omaha to find the perfect chili, which is a strong testament to the world-class character of our community," said Mike Fernandez, ConAgra's s.v.p., corporate affairs, and chief communications officer.
In addition to its sponsorship, ConAgra's Culinary Center of Excellence (CCOE) also played a role in last year's chili cookoff, with its top chefs participating in the judging as well as hosting chili samplings and seminars for thousands of attendees.
Enthusiasm for chili in the U.S. continues to grow, among every day consumers and more avid fans and "chiliheads," many of whom attend officially sanctioned and regulated competitive chili cookoffs.