Archive for December, 2010

Frito-Lay Launches Products Made With All Natural IngredientsPLANO, Texas  (Food-News.net)  PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division today said that approximately 50 percent of its product portfolio will be made with all natural ingredients, including three of its biggest brands, Lay’s® potato chips, Tostitos® tortilla chips and SunChips® multigrain snacks. The products made with all natural ingredients do not have any artificial or synthetic ingredients, and they do not contain any artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, or ingredients such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), yet still have the great taste consumers expect from Frito-Lay.

More than six dozen varieties of Frito-Lay products will be made with all natural ingredients including all the flavors of Lay’s® potato chips, Tostitos® tortilla chips, SunChips® multigrain snacks, Baked! snacks, and Rold Gold® pretzels by the end of 2011.  

“As the snack food category leader, we have insights that show consumers are seeking a wider range of products made with all natural ingredients.  At Frito-Lay North America we want to provide our customers with a broad portfolio of snack options that taste great and are made with real food ingredients,” said Ann Mukherjee, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Frito-Lay.  “Many of the unflavored snacks in our portfolio are already made with all natural ingredients, and we’ve focused on expanding our portfolio of products with all natural ingredients to include more of consumers’ favorite flavored products.”

Frito-Lay’s seasoning professionals and chefs at the Frito-Lay Flavor Kitchen™ turn culinary inspiration into great tasting snacks like Lay’s regionally-inspired flavors, such as Tangy Carolina BBQ and Garden Tomato & Basil.  The Frito-Lay seasoning professionals created the new seasonings for the products made with all natural ingredients.

New products made with all natural ingredients are now becoming available at retailers nationwide with more products launching throughout 2011. The reformulated products will be easily identifiable in stores with a stamp on package that calls out that the product is made with all natural ingredients, with no MSG, artificial preservatives or artificial flavors.

To support the transformation, Frito-Lay is undertaking the largest integrated marketing campaign in the history of the company. The portfolio-focused, 360 degree marketing campaign launches January 1 during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and includes a significant focus on digital and social mediums to connect with consumers.

Highlights of the campaign include:

  • Television Advertising: National campaign launching January 1st during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and appearing on a range of network and cable channels will focus on the real employees behind the products made with natural ingredients, from the purchasing agents who buy ingredients, to culinary center chefs who inspire new products to quality experts that ensure products meet Frito-Lay’s high standards.
  • Print Advertising: National campaign highlighting the real food ingredients and culinary-based innovation process that are used to make Frito-Lay’s products, appearing in a variety of national print outlets. The print campaign will include Quick Response (QR) codes that leverage scan technology to unlock additional content, including recipes and culinary webisodes.  
  • In-Store Promotions: In-store communications including redesigned packaging, partnering with top-tier retailers and media for cooperative advertising.

Frito-Lay is making an investment in emerging technology and marketing practices to support the program; embracing digital media in a way they never have before and utilizing the scale of mass media to drive digital and social engagement. And in 2011, Frito-Lay will use advertising and marketing to drive consumers to Facebook.  Most of the advertisements – and for the first time ever, packaging – will list branded Facebook pages. Frito-Lay will claim the broadest portfolio of consumer products that include a Facebook URL on packaging to date.

“Throughout the campaign, Frito-Lay is highlighting our ‘seed to shelf’ story, which shows the care and pride that goes into every step to make our products, from the real ingredients that we use, to the real culinary arts and quality employee experts,” said Mukherjee. “We are pulling back the curtain and inviting consumers to learn how our products are created, from our kitchen into theirs.”

For more information visit www.fritolay.com or www.facebook.com/fritolay.

About Frito-Lay North America

Frito-Lay North America is the $13 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY.  Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate Web site, http://www.fritolay.com/, the Snack Chat blog, http://www.snacks.com/ and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fritolay.

PepsiCo offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade – also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in more than 200 countries. With annualized revenues of nearly $60 billion, PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.



SAN FRANCISCO  (Food-News.net)  In recognition of its commitment to employee health and wellness, Del Monte Foods (NYSE:DLM) has attained the prestigious Platinum Fit-Friendly status in the American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program for the second consecutive year. The program recognizes companies that champion the health of their employees and work to create a culture of physical activity in the workplace.

“Del Monte’s participation in the American Heart Association’s Fit-Friendly program is a reflection of our continued commitment to our employees’ health and wellness,” said Richard G. Wolford, Del Monte Foods Chairman and CEO. “We are committed to our wellness program’s growth and continue to expand the offerings every year. Here at Del Monte, we know that a healthy, active lifestyle is our best weapon against health ailments; after all, research shows that for every hour of regular exercise people get, they can gain about two hours of additional life expectancy. Del Monte Foods is proud to be part of the American Heart Association’s Start! Movement.”

Platinum Fit-Friendly companies are recognized for implementing programs and activities that encourage, among other wellness initiatives, physical activity, nutrition and culture enhancements, and preventative health measures. Companies that meet at least nine criteria outlined by the American Heart Association may be considered for this highest level of recognition in the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program. This year, only 18 percent of the 931 Fit-Friendly companies received the Platinum designation.

Del Monte has created a vibrant wellness culture through the company’s comprehensive wellness initiative, Living Healthy … Every Day, a popular program that provides employees with tools and resources to own their health, lead a healthier lifestyle and make an impact in the community. Through the program, employees receive discounts on wellness programming, reimbursement for healthy lifestyle activities, rewards for preventative health care, access to health information and resources through a partnership with WebMD, a free day to participate in community service, and more. In addition, employees enjoy other benefits through company programs which include educational health seminars, healthy snack breaks, office health and wellness teams, and annual Health & Wellness Fairs.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies program, visit www.startwalkingnow.org.

About Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods is one of the country’s largest and most well-known producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded pet products and food products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.7 billion in net sales in fiscal 2010. With a powerful portfolio of brands, Del Monte products are found in eight out of ten U.S. households. Pet food and pet snacks brands include Meow Mix(R), Kibbles ‘n Bits(R) , Milk-Bone(R), 9Lives(R), Pup-Peroni(R), Gravy Train(R) , Nature’s Recipe(R), Canine Carry-Outs (R) and other brand names. Food product brands include Del Monte(R), Contadina(R), S&W(R) , College Inn(R)and other brand names. The Company also produces and distributes private label pet products and food products. For more information on Del Monte Foods Company (NYSE: DLM) visit the Company’s website at www.delmonte.com.

Del Monte. Nourishing Families. Enriching Lives. Every Day.™

 

SILVER SPRING, Md.  (Food-News.net)  The following was released today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Fast Facts

  • The FDA is advising consumers not to eat Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts (which contain alfalfa sprouts mixed with radish and clover sprouts) from Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Ill. The sprouts were distributed in 4 oz. and 5 lb. containers to various customers, including farmers’ markets, restaurants and groceries, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and possibly other Midwestern states.
  • Preliminary results of the investigation of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections indicate a link to eating Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurant outlets.
  • The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.
  • Consumers should not eat Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts or Spicy Sprouts. Consumers, retailers and others who have Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts or Spicy Sprouts should discard them in a sealed container so people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them.

What is the Problem?

Tiny Greens Organic Farm’s Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts have been preliminarily linked to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections. The sprouts were distributed to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and may also have been distributed to other Midwestern states. Approximately half of the illnesses occurred in Illinois, where nearly all of the ill individuals ate sandwiches containing sprouts at various Jimmy John’s outlets. The CDC has posted epidemiological information about this outbreak at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/i4512i-/.

Jimmy John’s has stopped serving sprouts on its sandwiches at all Illinois locations.

What are the symptoms of illness/injury?

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four  to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, some individuals may require hospitalization from severe diarrhea. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites. It can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from Salmonella infection.

Who Is at Risk?

The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from Salmonella infection. The bacterium can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in these vulnerable populations. Most healthy individuals recover from Salmonella infections within four to seven days without treatment.

What Do Consumers and Restaurant Operators Need To Do?

Consumers should not eat Tiny Greens brand Alfalfa Sprouts or Spicy Sprouts. Restaurant and food service operators should not serve them. Consumers, retailers and others who have Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts or Spicy Sprouts should throw them away in a sealed container.

Consumers who think they may have become ill from eating contaminated sprouts should consult their health care providers.

Sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli. The FDA advises that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts). To reduce the chance of foodborne illness, FDA advises consumers to cook sprouts thoroughly and to request raw sprouts not be added to your food.

What Does the Product Look Like?

Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts (which contain radish, clover and alfalfa sprouts) are distributed in 4 oz. and 5 lb. containers.

Where is it Distributed?

The sprouts were distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and possibly other Midwestern states.

What is Being Done About the Problem?

FDA is investigating the problem in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health and other states and is working with Tiny Greens. Jimmy John’s restaurants have voluntarily suspended serving sprouts at their Illinois franchise locations.

The information in this press release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.

For more information:

CDC on Salmonella: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/

CDC on sprouts: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/press_r/taormina.htm

Foodsafety.gov: http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/salmonella.html

Media Inquiries: Siobhan DeLancey, 301-796-4668, siobhan.delancey@fda.hhs.gov

Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

ATLANTA  (Food-News.net)  As the hectic holiday season comes to a close and a new year approaches, many consumers are once again vowing to adopt weight loss goals to shed those unwanted pounds. But with obesity increasing at alarming levels across the globe, a number of health experts are urging a new approach to help fight the nation’s burgeoning weight problem.

Over the past three decades, obesity rates in the U.S. alone have soared among all age groups, particularly among youth where the rate has more than tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While many weight loss efforts have relied on the drastic elimination of certain foods and beverages, health professionals say it’s time to focus on the adoption of small lifestyle changes that will prevent future weight gain.

“Small changes can produce big results,” says Beth Hubrich, R.D., executive director of the Calorie Control Council, an international association representing the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry.  “Reducing portions, controlling calories, increasing physical activity and adding more “color” to the plate (e.g., including more fruits and vegetables) can help people prevent weight gain without feeling deprived. These small changes are lifestyle changes and hopefully that is what 2011 will bring – a focus on healthy changes that can be maintained for life.”

With so many Americans focusing on controlling and losing weight, what trends will emerge in 2011?  The Council is making these predictions when it comes to weight loss and obesity for the coming year:

1) A focus on preventing weight gain. The average American adult gains one or two pounds every year. Over time, that annual weight gain can easily increase the risk for heart disease and other weight-related health problems. Instead of focusing on weight loss, though, some health experts are now emphasizing the adoption of small, achievable steps that will help adults avoid gaining weight. While this might seem like a minor effort in a nation where 65 percent of the population is considered overweight or obese, Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center is convinced that these small changes – such as cutting 100 calories per day and adding 2,000 steps per day of physical activity – may help combat the obesity crisis. This emphasis on prevention has been embraced by a growing number of health professionals who say the food restriction and dieting approach has proven ineffective in curbing obesity.

“It’s always going to be harder to lose weight than to prevent weight gain in the first place. A weight ‘loss’ approach ultimately fails,” states Hill, who helped create America on the Move Foundation’s “Families on the Move” program, a national weight gain prevention initiative. “People need realistic goals, so we will continue to lose the obesity battle unless we do something qualitatively different. We have a better chance of using small, sustainable behavior changes that may be sufficient to prevent weight gain in most of the population. Walk a mile each day or take a few less bites at each meal. This approach can give us some needed optimism that we might actually be able to begin to turn the tide on the increasing prevalence of obesity.”

2) Updated dietary guidelines to help shape eating patterns. The U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are expected to soon release the 2010 dietary guidelines, which will serve as federal dietary advice for the next 5 years. Based on the results of a June advisory report, many health professionals anticipate the final guidelines to place even greater emphasis on physical activity, while urging people to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, foods with Omega-3 fatty acids and low-calorie dairy products. Experts also expect the new guidelines to focus on limiting saturated fats and reducing “added sugars” in the diet (to reduce calories).

3) “Light” products light the way. With two-thirds of U.S. adults and almost one-third of children and adolescents overweight or obese, research shows that more consumers are increasingly focused on weight control. According to market research publisher Packaged Facts, the global weight loss and diet management market – including diet food and drinks, weight loss programs and services, surgical interventions and weight loss drugs and natural therapies – reached $26 billion in 2009. Diet food and drinks was the largest category, with $18 billion, or 73 percent, of total worldwide sales. The development of foods and beverages that provide satiety, or hunger satisfaction, is projected to be one of the hottest trends in weight management in the coming years. By incorporating low-calorie, sugar-free products such as diet sodas, light juices and light yogurts, consumers can control calories while still enjoying their favorite foods on a reasonable budget. For example, choosing sugar-free chocolate will save 50 calories a day. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a five-pound weight loss. Drinking a diet soda instead of the full-calorie version can save 150 calories a day – or potentially 15 pounds – by year’s end.

4) A healthy staff is good for business. Health professionals expect that companies will continue to fight obesity with more corporate wellness programs in 2011. A recent study put the health care costs of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion per year, which can put a heavy price on employers covering paid sick leave and insurance policies. To help combat the problem, employers are creating incentive programs to stimulate health behavior change for employees in order to reduce absenteeism and costs of health insurance. According to a 2010 MetLife survey, more than one-third of employers now offer wellness programs – up from just over a quarter in 2005. Among the larger employers – those with 500 or more employees — 61 percent now offer a wellness program.

5) Calorie consciousness is “in” at restaurants. Across the country, a growing number of cities have been experimenting with requiring restaurants and food chains to list the calories of the foods they offer on their menus. A new federal law that will take effect in 2011, for example, will require restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to disclose calorie counts on their food items and supply information on how many calories a healthy person should eat in a day. The measure, which passed earlier this year, is intended to create a national policy modeled on legislation already approved in a number of cities and states including Philadelphia, New York City, California and Massachusetts that require restaurants with standardized menus to clearly label the calorie content of each item.

Overall, according to the Council, 2011 will be a year of positive change when it comes to calorie control – both calories consumed, and calories burned. “Forget about adopting extreme or restrictive diets and instead focus on a lifestyle approach that incorporates small improvements in eating and exercise habits,” advises Hubrich.

For more information, along with free online calorie and exercise calculators, visit: www.caloriecontrol.org.

DALLAS  (Food-News.net)  Dean Foods Company (NYSE: DF) has announced the release of its second Corporate Responsibility Report. The report details the company’s efforts to incorporate sustainable and responsible business practices that benefit the company as well as consumers, retailers, communities and the environment.

“We’re serious about being a responsible leader in the food and beverage sector because it is simply good business,” said Gregg Tanner, Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer for Dean Foods. “We continually look for more efficient ways to operate that help our business grow, drive cost and waste out of our systems, and ensure we make a positive impact on the people who manufacture, sell and consume our products.”

Highlights of the 2010 Dean Foods Corporate Responsibility Report include:

  • Recognition by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Dean Foods received the highest score in the Consumer Staples category among the S&P 500 and was the only Consumer Staples company placed on the 2010 Carbon Performance Leadership Index.
  • The hiring of Jennifer Walker, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, as the Director of Dairy Stewardship, a first-of-its-kind position in the dairy sector. An expert in dairy herd health and veterinary medicine, Dr. Walker works closely with Dean Foods’ producer partners to implement best practices in the areas of milk quality, environmental resource management and the care and welfare of dairy cows.
  • The introduction by Silk® soymilk of Silk Traceability, an innovative website that allows consumers to easily trace a carton of soymilk back to the county where the soybeans were grown. The site also provides information about how Silk soymilk is made and Silk’s commitment to using only soybeans that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Silk is also enrolled in the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program, a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers dedicated to the shared mission of ensuring the sustained availability of non-GMO food and beverage choices.
  • Significant reductions in greenhouse gases. Dean Foods has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per gallon of product manufactured by 5.85 percent in two years and has a goal to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions company-wide by 20 percent by 2013.

Dean Foods’ With Every Step Corporate Responsibility Report is available online at http://www.deanfoods.com/our-company/about-us/corporate-responsibility.aspx.

About Dean Foods

Dean Foods is one of the leading food and beverage companies in the United States and a European leader in branded soy foods and beverages. The Company’s Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar segment is the largest U.S. processor and distributor of milk, creamer, and cultured dairy products. These offerings are marketed under more than 50 local and regional dairy brands, as well as through private labels. The WhiteWave-Alpro segment produces and sells an array of branded dairy, soy and plant-based beverages and foods. WhiteWave brands, including Silk® soy and almond milk, Horizon Organic® milk and dairy products, International Delight® coffee creamers, and LAND O LAKES® creamers, are category leaders and consumer favorites. Alpro is the pan-European leader in branded soy food products.

Post Foods to Improve Nutritional Value of Pebbles CerealsPARSIPPANY, NJ  (Food-News.net)  Post Foods, LLC, the makers of Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, announced plans today to improve its most popular kids’ cereals in its ongoing effort to address the rise in nutritional concerns among American consumers.

Beginning in January, Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles cereals will have a lower sugar content of 9 grams per serving. In addition to lowered sugar levels, all Pebbles varieties are also Cholesterol Free, an Excellent Source of Vitamin D, Low Fat and provide 10 Essential Vitamins and Minerals.

Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, rice-based cereals, will also be certified as Gluten Free, a relatively unique distinction in the cereal category. In response to increased concerns over celiac disease and products containing wheat gluten, the brand went through a rigorous process to achieve Gluten Free status on both Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles products.

“Post Foods is dedicated to providing both nutritious and delicious cereals for people of all ages, and we’re pleased to announce improvements to the Pebbles brand that will assist in our ongoing efforts to improve kids’ nutrition,” said Bart Adlam, President of Post Foods. “By lowering our sugar content and providing Gluten Free certification, we hope moms feel confident serving a cereal that combines the fun and heritage of Bedrock with great taste that kids love. “

Additionally, Post Foods is working as part of the Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a program launched by the Council of Better Business Bureaus to help tackle the issue of childhood obesity by changing the mix of advertising messages directed to children under 12 to include healthier choices. A report released Dec. 15th by the CFBAI shows Post Foods is demonstrating compliance with our pledge to advertise healthier foods to kids under 12.

“This is a wonderful holiday present for consumers – iconic cereals with the same great taste but lower sugar content,” said Elaine Kolish, Vice President and Director of the CFBAI. “We commend Post Foods for its commitment to making and advertising healthier choices for kids. This is one more great example of how the commitment to self regulation and responding to consumer needs is making a difference in children’s advertising.”

About Post Foods, LLC

Post Foods, LLC, a subsidiary of Ralcorp Holdings, is the manufacturer of iconic ready-to-eat cereal brands including Pebbles, Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Grape-Nuts, Post Shredded Wheat, Honeycomb, Post Great Grains, and other great tasting cereals. For more information, please visit www.postcereals.com.

About the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

The Council of Better Business Bureaus launched the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in November 2006 to shift the mix of advertising messaging directed at children to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthier lifestyles. The 17 participants of the CFBAI are Burger King Corp.; Cadbury Adams USA LLC; Campbell Soup Company; The Coca-Cola Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; The Dannon Company; General Mills, Inc.; The Hershey Company; Kellogg Company; Kraft Foods Global, Inc.; Mars Snackfoods US, LLC; McDonald’s USA, LLC; Nestlé USA; PepsiCo, Inc.; Post Foods, LLC; Sara Lee Corporation and Unilever United States. For more information about the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and to view the pledges of the participants visit: www.bbb.org/us/children-food-beverage-advertising-initiative.

Crunchmaster Sponsors Holiday Dips & Dishes Recipe ContestCrunchmaster, the leading brand of certified gluten free crackers in the U.S., is teaming with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in sponsoring its Holiday Dips & Dishes recipe contest. One Grand Prize winner will be awarded $500 in cash for submitting an original recipe for a gluten free holiday dip or dish that uses Crunchmaster crackers as a component or complement.

The Grand Prize winning recipe—to be judged on creativity, ease of preparation, and flavor—will be featured on the Crunchmaster and NFCA websites, www.crunchmaster.com and www.CeliacCentral.org. In addition, four First Place winners will receive $50 in Crunchmaster products. Plus, everyone who submits an original recipe will receive a coupon for a free 4.5 oz. bag of Crunchmaster crackers.

“We are constantly hearing from our customers about new and tasty ways that they are enjoying Crunchmaster products, at the holidays and all year round,” said Jim Garsow, Director of Marketing for the Crunchmaster brand. “The Holiday Dips & Dishes contest is a chance for them to be rewarded for their creativity. We look forward to sharing the winning recipe with consumers nationwide who enjoy our nutritious and versatile crackers.”

Complete official contest rules and an electronic recipe submission form are available at www.CeliacCentral.org. All recipes must be received before midnight January 1, 2011.

To make this recipe contest accessible to a wider audience, Crunchmaster is also proud to announce that its Original Flavor Multi-Grain Crisps are now available in 4.5 oz. boxes at Wal-Mart Supercenter stores nationwide(retail price: $2.48). These oven-baked, 100% whole grain crisps are made with a blend of California brown rice and four seeds: sesame, quinoa, flax and amaranth.

“We’re delighted that consumers will have another option to enjoy our Crunchmaster crackers at a reasonable price by purchasing them at their local Wal-Mart Supercenters,” Garsow said. “Like all of our Crunchmaster crackers, these crisps are oven baked, certified gluten free, all natural and cholesterol free, making them an excellent heart-healthy, low-fat snack option, particularly for the growing segment of the population living a gluten free lifestyle.”

For more Crunchmaster news and offers, visit www.crunchmaster.com or follow them on Facebook.

Pilgrim's Pride Appoints William W. Lovette as President and Chief Executive OfficerPilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NYSE: PPC) today announced that its board of directors has appointed William W. Lovette as president and chief executive officer of the company, effective January 3, 2011.  Mr. Lovette succeeds Don Jackson, who is resigning from the company effective January 2, 2011, in order to assume the position of president and chief executive officer of JBS USA, which is majority owner of Pilgrim’s.  Mr. Lovette will report directly to Mr. Jackson, who will continue to serve on Pilgrim’s board of directors.  In his new role, Mr. Jackson will continue reporting to Wesley M. Batista, who will remain as chairman of Pilgrim’s and JBS USA Holdings, Inc.  

Mr. Lovette, 50, brings more than 27 years of industry leadership experience to Pilgrim’s.  Since 2008, he has served as president and COO of Case Foods, Inc.  Before joining Case, Mr. Lovette spent 25 years with Tyson Foods in various roles in senior management, including President of its International Business Unit, President of its Foodservice Business Unit and Sr. Group Vice President of Poultry and Prepared Foods. While at Tyson Foods, he served on the boards of Tyson de Mexico, Cobb-Vantress, Inc. and EFS Network, Inc.

“Bill is exceptionally qualified to lead Pilgrim’s and our 41,000 employees to even greater success in the years ahead,” said Mr. Jackson.  “He brings a tremendous breadth of industry experience and a proven track record of success to this role.  He has a deep knowledge of the poultry business and the market environment, and we believe that he will lead Pilgrim’s to continued growth and profitability.”

About Pilgrim’s Pride

Pilgrim’s employs approximately 41,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 12 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Mexico.  The Company’s primary distribution is through retailers and foodservice distributors.  For more information, please visit http://www.pilgrimspride.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained in this press release that state the intentions, plans, hopes, beliefs, anticipations, expectations or predictions of the future of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and its management are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that the actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements include: matters affecting the poultry industry generally; the ability to execute the company’s business plan to achieve desired cost savings and profitability; the ability of the Company to fully achieve all of the anticipated synergistic gains related to the purchase by JBS USA Holdings, Inc. of a majority of our common stock within the time frames expected; the ability of the company to re-open its idled facilities in the manner and on the time schedule planned due to, among other things, the company’s dependence on commodity prices and economic conditions; future pricing for feed ingredients and the company’s products; additional outbreaks of avian influenza or other diseases, either in Pilgrim’s Pride’s flocks or elsewhere, affecting its ability to conduct its operations and/or demand for its poultry products; contamination of Pilgrim’s Pride’s products, which has previously and can in the future lead to product liability claims and product recalls; exposure to risks related to product liability, product recalls, property damage and injuries to persons, for which insurance coverage is expensive, limited and potentially inadequate; changes in laws or regulations affecting Pilgrim’s Pride’s operations or the application thereof, including new immigration legislation, or proposed regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act, or increased enforcement efforts in connection with existing legislation that cause the costs of doing business to increase, cause Pilgrim’s Pride to change the way in which it does business, or otherwise disrupt its operations; competitive factors and pricing pressures or the loss of one or more of Pilgrim’s Pride’s largest customers; currency exchange rate fluctuations, trade barriers, exchange controls, expropriation and other risks associated with foreign operations; disruptions in international markets and distribution channels, including exports into Russia; restrictions imposed by, and as a result of, Pilgrim’s Pride’s substantial leverage; and the impact of uncertainties of litigation as well as other risks described under “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Beech-Nut Announces New Baby Food Line Featuring General Mills Green Giant Vegetable BrandBeech-Nut® is proud to introduce a new line of great-tasting and nutritious baby foods featuring Beech-Nut purees co-branded with General Mills Green Giant® brand. The new Beech-Nut line is made with natural ingredients and has a great taste that babies will love.

“Green Giant has been an American favorite vegetable brand for more than 90 years,” said Andy Dahlen, Green Giant Business Unit Director, General Mills Inc. “Moms trust Green Giant vegetables for their family. We’re proud to announce our licensing partnership with Beech-Nut, a company that shares our values and heritage.”

Beech-Nut is the #2 ranked baby food brand in the U.S. and introduced the first vacuum-sealed glass jar of baby food in 1931. Eighty years later, Beech-Nut purees are still made with natural ingredients and are exclusively produced in traditional glass jars to naturally lock in essential nutrients and good taste.

“Beech-Nut and Green Giant share a century-long history of American food tradition,” said Evan Eckman, Chief Marketing Officer for Hero North America, parent company of Beech-Nut. “Most babies are ready to start solid foods at about four months and studies show healthy eating habits start in early childhood. We’re proud to have selected varieties of Beech-Nut purees to feature the Green Giant brand. Green Giant shares our lasting commitment to childhood nutrition, superior quality standards, and delicious tasting foods. Moms and retailers agree; this is another great value-building innovation from Beech-Nut and its new licensing partner Green Giant.”

About Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation is held by Hero Group, a family-owned food company headquartered in Lenzburg, Switzerland. Hero is a leader in the Infant Nutrition category with operations in more than 30 countries based in Europe, North America, Middle East/Africa and Turkey/Central Asia. Beech-Nut is committed to three core principles; providing better access to good nutrition, generating category growth through innovation and being a responsible steward of the environment. Beech-Nut is headquartered in Amsterdam, New York and has recently opened a $124 Million energy efficient manufacturing facility which has applied for Silver Level LEED certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).

About General Mills Inc.

One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2009 global net sales of US$15.9 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.

Disney and Beech-Nut Announce New Toddler Food Line Featuring Winnie the Pooh CharactersDisney Consumer Products and Beech-Nut are proud to introduce a new line of great-tasting and nutritious toddler foods featuring the Disney Winnie the Pooh characters. The new line is made with natural ingredients and has a great taste that even picky toddlers will love.

Highlighting Disney’s long-term commitment to providing more nutritious food options for kids, the Beech-Nut toddler food line for kids age 12 months and older have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The products adhere to Beech-Nut’s strict ingredient standards in order to maintain an authentic taste and provide nutritious and delicious food for this active age group. The packaging features favorite Disney characters including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet.

“In 2006, Disney made a commitment to meet high nutrition standards by offering a healthier portfolio of foods. The Beech-Nut toddler line is one more example of our commitment to these goals of offering ‘better for you’ foods that kids will love and parents will feel good about,” said Embola Ndi, vice president of Food, Health & Beauty, Disney Consumer Products.

“Beech-Nut and Disney share a commitment to offer better nutrition choices for children. Our 20 new toddler products include steam-cooked microwavable meals, whole grain and real fruit snacks, and 100 percent juice beverages. They’re tasty and nutritious products that moms can feel really good about,” said Evan Eckman, chief marketing officer at Beech-Nut.

The Beech-Nut toddler food is fortified with vitamins and minerals and contains valuable nutrients, fiber, whole grains, real fruit, real yogurt, real vegetables and protein. The line features meals, sides, snacks and juices including:

  • Steamies™: These complete meals have a home-style taste and texture and cook via a unique steam-cooking process. They are available in 10 different varieties.
  • Goodies™: Made with Chiquita Bananas® and whole grains, Goodies Banana Bites offer a more nutritious choice for snack time. Goodies Mixed Fruit Nibbles come in two flavors and are made with real fruit. One serving offers 100 percent of the daily recommended serving of vitamin C.
  • Juicies™: These 100 percent juice beverages come in refreshing flavor combinations, including white grape and peach, pear blueberry, and apple pomegranate. They offer the benefits of antioxidant super-fruits and contain 100 percent of the daily recommended serving of vitamin C.

The Disney-branded toddler foods by Beech-Nut are available now in grocery stores nationwide. Beech-Nut plans to introduce its new Disney steam-cooked microwavable meals with an upcoming TV commercial campaign and other promotional programming in collaboration with Disney’s entertainment divisions.

About Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation is held by Hero Group, a family-owned food company headquartered in Lenzburg, Switzerland. Hero is a leader in the Infant Nutrition category with operations in more than 30 countries based in Europe, North America, Middle East/Africa and Turkey/Central Asia. Beech-Nut is committed to three core principles; providing better access to good nutrition, generating category growth through innovation and being a responsible steward of the environment. Beech-Nut is headquartered in Amsterdam, New York and has recently opened a $124 Million energy efficient manufacturing facility which has applied for Silver Level LEED certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).

About Disney Consumer Products

Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company (DIS) that extends the Disney brand to merchandise ranging from apparel, toys, home decor and books and magazines to foods and beverages, stationery, electronics and fine art. This is accomplished through DCP’s various lines of business which include: Disney Toys, Disney Fashion & Home, Disney Food, Health & Beauty, and Disney Stationery. Other businesses involved in Disney’s consumer products sales are Disney Publishing Worldwide, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines, and www.DisneyStore.com, the company’s official shopping portal. The Disney Stores retail chain, which debuted in 1987, is owned and operated by Disney in North America, Europe, and Japan. For more information, please visit www.disneyconsumerproducts.com or watch us at www.youtube.com/disneyliving “like us” on www.facebook.com/disneyliving, or “follow us” at www.twitter.com/disneyliving.

Birds Eye on a Mission to Inspire a Love of VegetablesFrom the White House vegetable garden to the growing demand for wholesome, all-natural, simple ingredients, vegetables are in the spotlight for their role in a healthy diet. Yet, most Americans still fall far short of eating the amount they need.* That’s why Birds Eye® is on a mission to inspire a love of vegetables – and it all starts with kids. To help encourage the next generation to discover their passion for vegetables, Birds Eye is launching the “Feed Kids Better” initiative to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry CampaignTM.

Simply “Like” Birds Eye vegetables on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/BirdsEyeVegetables) and Birds Eye will make a $1.00 donation to Share Our Strength to help provide nutritious food to families in need (up to $50,000 until December 31, 2010). You’ll also get a coupon for your next purchase of Birds Eye vegetables. So, when you share your love of vegetables by serving Birds Eye, you’re helping others do the same.

The “Feed Kids Better” initiative will also include tips on how to ignite families’ love of vegetables. Birds Eye is teaming up with two of the nation’s top dinnertime experts: The Meal Makeover Moms, Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD. This dietitian-mom duo will be giving vegetables the much-needed attention they deserve during a live interactive veggie chat and recipe demo on the Birds Eye Facebook page December 15 at 1pm EST. They’ll also be helping build a community on the Birds Eye Facebook page where people can connect and share their own veggie tips.

“Our philosophy is that vegetables should be highly visible on the plate – not concealed within the meal,” said Weiss, co-author of the newly released No Whine with Dinner. “It’s easy and delicious to make vegetables the hero at mealtime. That is why we’re so proud to team up with Birds Eye to help celebrate vegetables and feed kids better.”

Bissex and Weiss will share advice, fun ideas and simple solutions to help families celebrate vegetables, including:

  • Keep it Colorful: At the dinner table, take turns calling out a color and have everyone take a bite of whatever color was chosen. Yell “green” for broccoli, “orange” for carrots and “red” for tomatoes until you’ve finished your rainbow.
  • Veggie Adventure: On your weekly trips to the supermarket, take the kids along and ask them to pick one new vegetable they’ve never tried before. Post a tasting chart on the refrigerator door to check off each new veggie adventure.
  • Cook Together: Get your kids involved in the vegetable cookery and see how quickly their taste buds change. Frozen vegetables can be easily steamed in the microwave for young cooks.

“At Birds Eye, we are passionate about enjoying vegetables and inspiring a love for vegetables in everything we do,” said Rodrigo Troni, vice president of marketing for Birds Eye. “We believe in sharing the earth’s goodness, providing access to vegetables for all and helping bring nutritious, vegetable-rich possibilities to every meal.”

Visit www.Facebook.com/BirdsEyeVegetables through December 31, 2010 to trigger a $1.00 donation to the “Feed Kids Better” campaign (up to $50,000) and get a high-value coupon toward the purchase of Birds Eye Vegetables.

About Pinnacle Foods Group LLC

Millions of times a day in more than 85% of American households, consumers reach for Pinnacle Foods brands. We are a leading producer, marketer and distributor of high-quality branded food products, which have been trusted household names for decades. Headquartered in Mountain Lakes, NJ, our approximately $2.5 billion business employs more than 4,500 people in 21 sites around North America. We are a leader in the shelf stable and frozen foods segments and our brands hold the #1 or #2 market position in 8 out of 12 major category segments in which they compete. Our Duncan Hines Grocery Division manages brands such as Duncan Hines® baking mixes and frostings, Vlasic® pickles, peppers, and relish, Mrs. Butterworth’s® and Log Cabin® syrups, Armour® canned meats, Nalley® and Brooks® chili and chili ingredients, and Open Pit® barbecue sauces. Our Birds Eye Frozen Division brands consist primarily of Birds Eye® vegetables, Birds Eye Steamfresh® vegetables, Birds Eye Voila!® meals, C&W® vegetables and McKenzie’s® vegetables, Freshlike® vegetables, Aunt Jemima® frozen breakfasts, Swanson® and Hungry-Man® dinners and entrees, Van de Kamp’s® and Mrs. Paul’s® seafood, Lender’s® bagels and Celeste® frozen pizza. Our Specialty Food group manages Tim’s Cascade Snacks®, Snyder of Berlin® and Husman’s® in addition to our food service and private label businesses. Further information is available at www.pinnaclefoods.com.

About Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry™ campaign—a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by 2015—Share Our Strength ensures children in need are enrolled in federal nutrition programs, invests in community organizations fighting hunger, teaches families how to cook healthy meals on a budget, and builds public-private partnerships to end hunger, both nationally and at the state level. Visit Strength.org to get involved in the No Kid Hungry campaign.

*Source: National Action Plan to Promote Health Through Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. 2010 Report Card. National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance. www.nfva.org

When it comes to rice, side dishes are front and center, as new findings published in Nutrition Today suggest that a serving of rice improves overall diet quality and reduces risk for many chronic conditions. The study found that rice reduced risk for obesity, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.

New Research Shows Rice Eaters Have Better Diets and Reduced Health RisksBuilding a Scientific Consensus

Researchers analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) datasets. The research included available data on the diets of more than 25,000 children and adults. NHANES surveys are considered the most accurate representation of Americans’ eating patterns.  

Of the four age groups studied, nearly 3,000 participants reported eating rice. The results show that children and adults who ate rice had diets that contained higher amounts of several key nutrients such as folate and other B-vitamins, potassium, fiber and vitamin A. In addition, those who included rice in their diet had less total fat, saturated fat and added sugars, and more beans and fruit.  

Further, research shows that people who eat rice reduce the amount of added sugars in their diet by four teaspoons (16 grams) and reduce highly saturated solid fats by seven grams.

These findings reinforce previous published research of rice eaters using NHANES and additional government nutrition surveys to show that the diets of those who reported eating rice were more consistent with nutrition recommendations.  Rice eaters ate more vegetables and grains, less total fat and saturated fat and had more fiber and iron in their diets. Together, these studies strongly confirm that rice eaters have healthier diets and face less risk for chronic diseases.

Supporting Dietary Guidance

“As Americans are encouraged to cut saturated fat, sugar and sodium intake to improve their health, they can feel good about some easy switches that can have a positive impact on their overall health,” explains Julie Upton, MS, RD, a study author. “A serving of rice — brown or white — is a simple and enjoyable way individuals can have a better diet and reduced risk for disease. Rice is low in calories, nutrient-rich and is great-tasting.  It pairs well with other healthy foods like beans, vegetables and lean proteins making it easier to meet nutrition recommendations,” says Upton.

Improving Health Parameters

The researchers also looked at the overall health profiles of rice eaters, and learned that the 19- to 50-year-olds who ate rice were less likely to be overweight or obese, had a 34% reduced risk for high blood pressure, 27% reduced likelihood of having abdominal obesity and increased waist circumference and 21% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.  No associations could be drawn for children ages two to 13; however, in children ages 14-18, body weight, waist circumference, triglycerides and diastolic blood pressure were lower (P G .05) among those who ate rice.

“This study shows that eating rice can improve overall diet and reduce risk for the major conditions that afflict more than half of all Americans — heart disease and Type II diabetes,” states Upton. “Rice is a practical solution to help consumers meet dietary guidance to eat more plant-based foods.”

Rice by the Numbers

U.S. national nutrition surveillance records show that rice eaters have healthier diets and less risk for chronic diseases compared to non-rice eaters. The researchers reported that rice eaters are:

  • 1/3 less likely to have high blood pressure;
  • 1/4 less likely to have a high waist circumference (often linked to obesity and diabetes risk);
  • 1/5 less likely to have metabolic syndrome.

Research shows U.S. rice consumption has increased steadily over the past 20 years, with current per capita consumption at 26 pounds per person.  Surveys show that rice is most frequently served as a side dish or one pot meal.

The research was supported by a grant from the USA Rice Federation.  The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for the U.S. rice industry, conducting programs to inform consumers about domestically-grown rice. U.S. farmers produce an abundance of short, medium and long grain rice, as well as organic and specialty rices including jasmine, basmati, Arborio, red aromatic and black japonica, among others.  Farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas grow some 20 billion pounds of rice each year according to the highest quality standards.  Eighty five percent of the rice Americans consume is grown in the USA. Look for the U.S. rice industry’s “Grown in the U.S.” logo on packages of 100% domestically-grown rice.

For more information about the benefits of rice and recipes, visit www.usarice.com.

 

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and MTVN Music Group Announce Campaign to Drop Sun Drop Citrus Soda on a Thirsty NationPLANO, Texas and NEW YORK  (Food-News.net)  Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) and MTVN Music Group, a division of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), today announced a groundbreaking multi-year agreement to nationally promote and distribute Sun Drop, a citrus soda originally introduced in 1949, and a favorite in the Carolinas and the Midwest.

The Sun Drop campaign is the latest project of MTV Scratch, MTV’s recently announced in-house creative team, and represents a pioneering new marketing approach for DPS. DPS will tap MTV’s unique ability to reach and connect with young consumers, as MTV Scratch develops Sun Drop’s brand strategy and creative across all marketing platforms.

“Sun Drop has an incredibly passionate fan base, and we believe MTV can help us broaden that connection with millennials who can take it to the next level,” said Jim Trebilcock, executive vice president of marketing for Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  “MTV knows this generation of consumers better than anyone, and their marketing reach will help drive demand for Sun Drop and expand national distribution.”

“Sun Drop lovers nationwide have waited long enough,” said Ross Martin, executive vice president for MTV Scratch.  “We’re teaming up with Dr Pepper Snapple to bring Sun Drop fans the taste they love and crave and a fresh new citrus flavor to those about to try it for the very first time.  We’re psyched to be teaming up with visionary marketers at DPS to spread the Sun Drop love across the country.” 

“DPS and MTV are taking a pioneering approach to bringing consumer insight, creative ideas and execution and powerful platforms together to successfully launch products to the marketplace,” added Sean Moran, executive vice president of advertising sales for MTVN Music Group. “With DPS, we’re not only creating an innovative campaign for a great product, but forging new thinking and new business models in an increasingly complex media environment.”

The Sun Drop campaign spotlights one of the most beloved brands in the DPS portfolio.  Sun Drop’s authentic taste has made it a top five brand in many of the markets where it is currently available.  Flavored beverages such as Sun Drop are the fastest growing segment in all carbonated soft drinks.  Also known as non-colas, flavored beverages have gained steadily on colas over the past 20 years and now represent more than 50 percent of all carbonated soft-drink retail sales in measured channels. 

MTV Scratch will develop all aspects of brand marketing for Sun Drop – ranging from new packaging graphics to advertising and promotions.  Sun Drop will also appear within some of MTV’s hottest properties, including the 25th anniversary season of “The Real World,” which premieres this spring from Las Vegas, and MTV’s college network indie music tent pole, “The mtvU Woodie Awards,” which will air live from Austin, Texas, during the popular SXSW festival. Additionally, Sun Drop will be featured as part of a multi-city consumer sampling initiative at music festivals and on college campuses across the United States.

DPS will leverage the strength of Sun Drop’s brand equity, its network of bottling partners and its route to market to drive retail distribution with strong trade activation throughout the United States.  Retailer response to Sun Drop has been tremendously positive as a result of the  DPSG and MTV campaign.  Sun Drop will be available at major retailers across the country in 2011.

For more information, please visit us online at www.sundrop.com.

About Sun Drop

Sun Drop is one of many flavorful brands in the beverage portfolio of Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) and its subsidiaries.  DPS is the leading producer of flavored soft drinks in North America and the Caribbean.  Our success is fueled by more than 50 brands that are synonymous with refreshment, fun and flavor.  We have 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and 9 of our 12 leading brands are No. 1 in their flavor categories.  In addition to our flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, our portfolio includes Sunkist soda, 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Crush, Mott’s, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, Peñafiel, Clamato, Schweppes, Venom Energy, Rose’s and Mr & Mrs T mixers. To learn more about our Plano, Texas-based company and our iconic brands, please visit www.drpeppersnapple.com.

About MTV

MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand.   With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people.  MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile.  MTV’s sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is the leading destination for music, news and pop culture.  MTV is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.  For more information, go to www.mtvpress.com.

General Mills Achieves Further Sugar Reductions in CerealsMINNEAPOLIS  (Food-News.net)  General Mills said today it successfully reduced sugar in cereals advertised to children by an additional 8 percent, on average, in 2010. General Mills has now achieved average sugar reductions of 14 percent on cereals advertised to children since 2007, with some cereals reduced as much as 28 percent in that period.

One year ago, General Mills committed to reduce sugar in all Big G cereals advertised to children under 12 to “single-digit levels of grams of sugar per serving.” It also announced that all such cereals had been reduced to 11 grams of sugar or less per serving at that time.

Today, exactly one year later, General Mills announced its continuing progress, saying shipments of Big G cereals advertised to children will all be at 10 grams of sugar or less per serving by Dec. 31, with some already at 9 grams of sugar.

General Mills also repeated its pledge of one year ago, committing to further reduce sugar until single-digit levels are reached on all cereals advertised to children under 12.

“We are making real progress,” said Jeff Harmening, president of General Mills’ Big G cereal division. “We think consumers will be very pleased, because we are reducing sugar and our cereals still taste great.”

Ready-to-eat cereals, including sweetened cereals, account for a relatively small amount of a child’s sugar intake — less than 5 percent on average. “Still, we know that some consumers would prefer to see cereals that are even lower in sugar,” Harmening explained. “Consumers know that cereals are already low in calories, but we think consumers will be pleased that they now have lower sugar too.”

Big G has not only been reducing sugar in cereals, but also increasing key nutrients. For example, General Mills led the way in fortifying its entire line of children’s cereals with calcium and vitamin D in 2008. Now, all General Mills Big G kid cereals deliver at least 10 percent of the Daily Value for calcium and vitamin D.

General Mills is also the industry leader in whole grain cereals, with every Big G cereal providing at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving, and more than 20 General Mills cereals delivering 16 grams or more.

Today, General Mills’ cereals provide America with more whole grain at breakfast than any other breakfast food from any other manufacturer. As a result, Big G cereals are America’s No. 1 source of whole grain at breakfast.

General Mills’ whole grain conversion across its entire Big G cereal line is one of the most notable health and nutrition commitments in the food industry.

“It’s important,” noted Harmening. “We feel General Mills can lead the way by innovating to make even better tasting cereals with lower sugar levels – and we are going to continue until we reach our single-digit goal.”

Ready-to-eat cereals are a top source of key nutrients in children’s diets, delivering important vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, B6, iron, niacin and zinc. Forty percent of kids’ milk consumption, on average, is with cereal – and cereal eaters of all ages also consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non cereal eaters.

“Ready-to-eat cereal really is one of the best breakfast choices you could make,” said Susan Crockett, Ph. D., vice president, Health and Nutrition, and director of the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition at General Mills. “Studies demonstrate that frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights, including both kids and adults who eat sweetened cereals. And when you improve a product as important as ready-to-eat cereal, by adding whole grain or reducing sugar, you can meaningfully impact health and nutrition. The science is consistent.”

But taste is number one.

“Taste will never be compromised – or lowering sugar levels would go for naught,” explains Harmening. “To be successful with consumers, big changes like these must be made in a series of small steps that consumers accept and embrace, because taste rules. You can be certain that we are going to maintain the great taste that Big G cereal consumers love,” adds Harmening. “That’s a promise.”

About General Mills

One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.

Olive Oil Strongly Favored in Survey of DietitiansBALTIMORE  (Food-News.net)  A newly released survey of dietitians, which examines their current perspectives regarding various dietary fats and oils, reveals a strong preference for olive oil as the food oil of choice even for individuals on a diet. Canola oil was the second choice, while other oils—safflower, soybean, peanut, corn and flax—trailed far behind.

The Dietary Fat Survey for Dietitians was conducted by Dr. Doug Bibus, nationally recognized lipid nutrition expert and community faculty member at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota and president of Lipid Technologies, LLC. In releasing the survey results, Dr. Bibus noted that the public has been confronted by confusing messages about the consumption of fat, and the survey of professional dietitians should help provide some clarity.

Among the key findings of the survey respondents were that olive oil is considered one of the top two “healthy foods and ingredients,” the first being fruits and vegetables, and the third being salmon and fish. Ninety-five percent of the dietitians routinely recommend olive oil to their patients.

“In response to the rising incidence of obesity in our country, ‘Low Fat’ diets were strongly recommended to curb calories,” Bibus stated. “However, results from the past decade of practicing ‘low fat’ strategies have also mirrored a further expansion of the obesity epidemic. Recent epidemiological reviews are now suggesting that dietary refined carbohydrate may be a major culprit of increasing obesity rates and that dietary fat may not be as harmful as once thought. Clearly, dietitians in our survey feel that olive oil is an important part of any diet.”

Among weight loss diets, the Mediterranean diet was preferred by sixty-five percent of respondents, with WeightWatchers a distant second. More than 9 out of 10 of the respondents agree that olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet and recommend it during weight loss dieting.

Ninety-five percent of the dietitians also “recommend replacing butter and hydrogenated fats” with olive oil.

The survey solicited participation from 787 dietitians. The complete survey results can be found at the website of the underwriter of the survey Pompeian, Inc.: www.pompeian.com/dietitiansurvey.

YONKERS, N.Y.  (Food-News.net)  Consumer Reports‘ latest tests of 42 samples from cans and pouches of tuna bought primarily in the New York metropolitan area and online confirm that white (albacore) tuna usually contains far more mercury than light tuna. Canned tuna, Americans’ favorite fish, is the most common source of mercury in our diet.  

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say that women of childbearing age and young children may eat up to 12 ounces a week of light tuna or other “low in mercury” seafood, including, within that limit, up to 6 ounces per week of white tuna.

Consumers Union’s fish-safety experts continue to suggest a more cautious approach. Because of its potential effects on fetal development, Consumers Union advises pregnant women, as a precaution, to avoid eating tuna.  Consumers Union further advises that children who weigh more than 45 pounds limit their weekly intake from 4 to 12.5 ounces of light tuna or from 1.5 to 4 ounces of white tuna, depending on their weight; and children who weigh less than 45 pounds limit their weekly intake from 0 to 4 ounces of light tuna or from 0 to 1.5 ounces of white tuna, depending on their weight.

“Canned tuna, especially white, tends to be high in mercury, and younger women and children should limit how much they eat. As a precaution, pregnant women should avoid tuna entirely,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, director of technical policy, at Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports’ tests, conducted at an outside lab, found:

  • Every sample contained measurable levels of mercury, ranging from 0.018 to 0.774 parts per million. The FDA can take legal action to pull products containing 1 ppm or more from the market.  (It never has, according to an FDA spokesman.)
  • Samples of white tuna had 0.217 to 0.774 ppm of mercury and averaged 0.427 ppm. By eating 2.5 ounces (about half a can) of any of the tested samples, a woman of childbearing age would exceed the daily mercury intake that EPA considers safe.
  • Samples of light tuna had 0.018 to 0.176 ppm and averaged 0.071 ppm. At that average, a woman of childbearing age eating 2.5 ounces would get less than the EPA’s limit, but for about half the tested samples, eating 5 ounces (about one can) would exceed the limit.

In 2006 Consumer Reports scrutinized the results of the FDA’s tests in 2002 to 2004 of mercury levels in hundreds of samples of canned tuna. The agency’s white-tuna samples averaged 0.353 ppm; light tuna, 0.118 ppm. But Consumer Reports found that as much as  6  percent  of  the  FDA’s  light-tuna samples had at least as much mercury as the average in white tuna—in some cases more than twice as much.

Given the uncertainties about the impact of occasional fetal exposure to such high levels, Consumer Reports urged the FDA to warn consumers about occasional spikes in mercury levels in canned light tuna. More than four years later, the FDA still hasn’t issued such a warning. When asked why, an FDA spokesman indicated that the agency had already taken the spikes into account when formulating its mercury advice.

The heavy metal accumulates in tuna and other fish in an especially toxic form, methylmercury, which comes from mercury released by coal-fired power plants and other industrial or natural sources. Some studies have linked even low-level mercury exposure in pregnant women and young children to subtle impairments in hearing, hand-eye coordination, and learning ability. Other evidence suggests that frequent consumption of high-mercury fish might affect adults’ neurologic, cardiovascular, and immune systems. The body is slow to eliminate mercury so it can accumulate in people over time.

Fish are rich in protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and might also elevate mood and help prevent certain cancers, cognitive decline, and certain eye diseases. During pregnancy, omega-3s might help in developing the fetus’s brain and visual system.

“Fortunately, it’s easy to choose lower-mercury fish that are also rich in healthful omega-3 fatty acids,” Dr. Rangan said. “That’s especially important for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children, because fetuses and youngsters are still developing their nervous systems and are therefore at particular risk from methylmercury’s neurotoxic effects.”

Some popular seafood, including clams, Alaskan salmon, shrimp, and tilapia, contain relatively little mercury and are better choices. Other lower-mercury choices include: oysters, pollock, sardines, Pacific flounder and sole, herring, mullet, and scallops (with some limitations for women of child-bearing age and children). Federal agencies advise children and women of childbearing age to avoid four high-mercury fish: king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish.  

Consumers Union believes that:  
   
The FDA should strengthen its current guidance and advise pregnant women to avoid tuna altogether, especially given the uncertainties about the impact of occasional fetal exposure to high mercury levels.  
   
The FDA should continue to test for mercury across the spectrum of fish and seafood in the marketplace in order to provide consumers with adequate information on the mercury levels of all fish.  There may well be other species that vulnerable groups like pregnant women should avoid but FDA needs to conduct more testing to draw conclusions.   The last set of FDA data gathered from 2002-2004 and published in 2006 needs to be updated and sample size of many species should be increased.  
   
The January issue of Consumer Reports is available wherever magazines are sold.  
 

JANUARY 2011

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Starbucks Response to Kraft Foods Recent ActionsSEATTLE  (Food-News.net)  Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) believes that it’s unfortunate that Kraft has chosen to attempt this delaying tactic through seeking preliminary injunction, a course that will ultimately prove harmful to customers. Starbucks has repeatedly said that we have terminated our agreement with Kraft and we continue to look forward to assuming full responsibility for the sales and distribution of our packaged coffee products as of March 1, 2011. We have both the capabilities and experience to make this a seamless transition for our customers. Kraft’s self-serving and blatantly disruptive actions risk creating unnecessary confusion for our shared customers, and in turn their consumers. Starbucks will vigorously oppose any action on Kraft’s part that would prevent Starbucks from rightfully assuming full control of our brand and business, and look forward to presenting our case through the pending arbitration process.

About Starbucks Corporation

Since 1971, Starbucks Corporation has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. In addition to its Starbucks retail stores, the company produces a wide range of branded consumer products globally, including ready-to-drink beverages, packaged coffees and premium ice creams. The company’s brand portfolio features Starbucks Coffee, Tazo Tea, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia Coffee, enabling Starbucks to appeal to a broad consumer base. For more information, please visit us online at www.starbucks.com.

SAN DIEGO  (Food-News.net)  Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, announced that a voluntary national recall has been issued by its supplier The Suter Company, Inc., on Bumble Bee Lunch on the Run with Mixed Fruit Kits and Bumble Bee Chicken Salad with Crackers Ready-to-Eat Kits. This recall has been issued because the chicken salad may be contaminated with pieces of hard plastic.  

Products subject to recall include:

  • Bumble Bee Lunch on the Run Chicken Salad Complete Lunch Kit – 8.2-ounce package (UPC 8660070741) with a “Best-by” date of 07/11.
  • Bumble Bee Chicken Salad with Crackers Ready-to-Eat Kit – 3.5-ounce package (UPC 8660070350) with “Best-by” dates of 01/12 and 02/12.

These products were distributed nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies this recall as Class 2 with low health risk i.e. remote probability of adverse health consequences. To date there have been no reports of injury associated with this issue.  

Steve Mavity, SVP Technical Services/Quality Assurance for Bumble Bee Foods, said: “We are working closely with The Suter Company to help expedite and effectively recall these products. It’s critical to us that we assure our consumers and retailers of a safe and quality product so we very much appreciate everyone’s part in returning the chicken salad kits.”

Mavity explained that the recall would not impact Bumble Bee’s core business and operations, which includes the production and marketing of packaged tuna, salmon and specialty seafood products.

Added Tim Suter, president of The Suter Company, “We are aligned with Bumble Bee on the importance of recovering these products and allaying any concerns among consumers. While we lead the recall and will assume financial responsibility for it, we do value the company’s support in driving public awareness and in working with its retail channels to ensure a quick product recovery.”

For product refunds and further questions, consumers should contact 800.507.7828.

For media inquiries, please contact Della Sweetman/Fleishman-Hillard on 619.237.7700 ext. 721.

Lance, Inc. and Snyder's of Hanover, Inc. Announce Merger CompletionCHARLOTTE, N.C.  (Food-News.net)  Lance, Inc. (Nasdaq: LNCE), and Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc. announced today the completion of their merger, first announced on July 22nd, 2010.  The transaction brings together Snyder’s, a global leader in pretzels and a U.S. leader in specialty snacks that traces its roots to 1909, with Lance, a U.S. snack food leader in sandwich crackers, potato chips, and cookies founded in 1913.  The combined company will have a well-established portfolio of snack food brands that includes Snyder’s of Hanover®, Lance®, Cape Cod®, Grande®, Tom’s®, Jays®, O-Ke-Doke®, Stella D’oro®, Krunchers!®, Archway®, Naturals® as well as Lance Private Brands, a leader in private label cookies and crackers.  Products will include pretzels, sandwich crackers, kettle chips, potato chips, cookies, tortilla chips and nuts.  The new company, named Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., will maintain the stock ticker symbol ‘LNCE’ with shares traded on the NASDAQ exchange.

“We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to combine two leading snack food companies in such a strategically compelling merger,” said David V. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of the combined company.  “Combining our strengths in salty, cracker and cookie snacks creates the opportunity for scale in a number of competitive high volume categories.  We will immediately begin the work of bringing our two organizations together in ways that maximize our potential growth and drive lasting value for stockholder, customers, business partners and our employees.”

Carl E. Lee, Jr., President and Chief Operating Officer of the combined company commented, “This historic transaction brings together many years of excellence in salty snacks and baking that will create a dynamic and competitive organization able to deliver superior customer service while continuing to be an important part to the communities in which we operate. We expect to drive our business through the strength of nationwide distribution, national advertising, and an excellent portfolio of products and capabilities that consumers prefer.  We look forward to our collective success and the exciting times that are to come.”

Management Structure and Board Composition

Snyder’s-Lance will draw on an experienced and talented group of leaders from both companies.  Michael A. Warehime, current Snyder’s Chairman, will serve as Chairman of the Board of the combined company, and W. J. Prezzano, current Lance Chairman, will serve as Lead Independent Director.  David V. Singer, current Lance President and Chief Executive Officer, will become Chief Executive Officer of Snyder’s-Lance.  Carl E. Lee, Jr., current Snyder’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will become President and Chief Operating Officer, and Rick D. Puckett, current Lance Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will become Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the combined company.

Snyder’s-Lance will have a 14 member Board drawn from the existing Boards of both companies.  It will be comprised of seven Directors of the current Lance Board and seven Directors of the current Snyder’s Board.  The company will have its corporate headquarters in Charlotte, NC and additional headquarters in Hanover, PA, where certain key leaders and functions will continue to be located.

About Lance, Inc.

Lance, Inc. headquartered in Charlotte, NC, manufactures and markets snack foods throughout much of the United States and other parts of North America. The Company’s products include sandwich crackers, sandwich cookies, potato chips, crackers, cookies, other snacks, sugar wafers, nuts, restaurant style crackers and candy. Lance has manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Ontario, Canada. Products are sold under the Lance, Cape Cod, Tom’s, Archway and Stella D’oro brand names along with a number of private label and third party brands. The Company’s products are distributed through a direct-store-delivery system, a network of independent distributors and direct shipments to customer locations. Products are distributed widely through grocery and mass merchant stores, convenience stores, club stores, food service outlets and other channels.

About Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc.

Founded in 1909, Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc. is a privately held company that employs over 2,250 associates and operates nearly 1,800 distribution routes nationwide. Snyder’s of Hanover is headquartered in Hanover, PA, which is the location of its flagship snack food manufacturing and distribution center.  This location produces and distributes products to the eastern half of North America, the Caribbean, and Europe. The Goodyear, Arizona plant produces products for the Western half of the United States and Pacific Rim countries. The Jeffersonville, Indiana manufacturing facility produces and distributes products primarily for the Midwest and Central United States.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may include statements about future economic performance, finances, expectations, plans and prospects of the combined company that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These statements are based on the combined company’s current plans, estimates and expectations.  Some forward-looking statements may be identified by use of terms such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “project,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “will,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” and similar words, terms or statements of a future or forward-looking nature.  Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by such statements.

Risks and uncertainties relating to the proposed merger include the risks that ; (1) the anticipated benefits of the transaction may not be realized and (2) the parties may not be able to retain key personnel.  These risks, as well as other risks of the combined company and its subsidiaries may be different from what the company expects.  These risks, as well as other risks associated with the merger, are more fully discussed in the joint proxy statement/prospectus included in the Registration Statement on Form S-4 filed by Lance with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made.

For further information regarding cautionary statements and factors affecting future results, please refer to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed subsequent to the Annual Report and other documents filed by Lance with the SEC.  Except as may be required by law, the combined company undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Kraft Foods Seeks Preliminary Injunction Against StarbucksNORTHFIELD, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE: KFT) announced today that it is seeking a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Starbucks Coffee Company for violating terms of the roast and ground coffee agreement.  Starbucks is attempting to unilaterally end the strategic partnership that provides Kraft with the exclusive rights for the sales, marketing and distribution of Starbucks roast and ground coffee in grocery and other retail outlets.  Kraft is seeking the injunction to stop Starbucks from proceeding as if the agreement has been terminated, when, in fact, the contract is still in force.

“Starbucks is proceeding with flagrant indifference to the terms of the contract and customary business practices,” said Marc Firestone, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal Affairs and General Counsel.  “Instead of executing its rights under the contract to buy back the business, Starbucks has chosen a remarkably aggressive strategy that publicly disparages our achievements, interferes with our customer relations and threatens to harm Kraft.”

Kraft Foods has grown the annual revenues of its Starbucks CPG partnership tenfold, from a base of approximately $50 million in 1998 to approximately $500 million today.  Year-to-date in 2010, U.S. net revenues for coffee have grown by approximately 8 percent, driven by volume growth and market share gains.  As recently as April of this year, Starbucks praised Kraft’s role in building a “highly profitable” CPG business, citing Kraft’s “world-class” capabilities in manufacturing, research and development, marketing and distribution.

The contract between Kraft and Starbucks renews automatically for successive 10-year periods and has no expiration date.  The only way the contract will not renew is if there is a valid termination.  Notably, the companies agreed to a straightforward basis under which Starbucks could take over the business in order to pursue a different arrangement.  Under the agreement, there needs to be sufficient time for Kraft to execute an orderly transition and Starbucks must compensate Kraft for the fair market value of the business plus, under most circumstances, a premium of up to 35 percent of that value.

“The extreme nature of Starbucks actions supports our seeking an injunction,” said Firestone.  “Starbucks has essentially ignored our attempts to get them to honor the contract terms and is demonstrating indifference to the potential harm to Kraft. Our logical next step is therefore to go to court to protect the interests of Kraft and its shareholders.”  

The events leading up to Kraft’s December 6 request for injunctive relief include:

  • As recently as August, Starbucks made an offer to buy Kraft out of the R&G agreement, consistent with its contractual obligation to compensate Kraft for this business.  Kraft rejected the offer as inadequate.
  • On October 5, Starbucks suddenly changed course, sending Kraft Foods a letter, alleging breach of contract.
  • On November 4, Kraft sent a detailed response, disputing each of the alleged breaches and contesting Starbucks right to terminate.  Disregarding Kraft’s response, that same day, Starbucks publicly announced it was ending its partnership.
  • Consistent with the contract, Kraft requested a meeting with Starbucks as well as substantiation for the alleged breaches.  Starbucks refused both requests.
  • On November 29, Kraft initiated arbitration as per the contract.
  • On December 1, Starbucks again made public statements about taking over the business, this time citing an end date of March 1, 2011, and naming a prospective new business partner – all this, despite Kraft’s initiation of arbitration.

In its zeal to take over the business Kraft has built, Starbucks has simply declared termination as a fait accompli.  For example, they have begun to implement a “transition plan” that includes arranging for a new partner and meeting with Kraft’s own customers in anticipation of their March 1 target date.  Starbucks conduct violates Kraft’s rights under the agreement and prejudges the outcome of an arbitration in which they will face compelling facts against them.

“Frankly, after a successful 12-year partnership, it’s difficult to understand Starbucks overt hostility and sudden change of view toward Kraft’s performance,” said Firestone. “Their latest allegation is that Kraft is not assisting in the ‘transition plan’ that they launched on their own.  Of course, we would cooperate in a transition, if there were a valid termination. But that’s the point; there hasn’t been.  For them to complain about this makes no sense.”

The arbitration proceedings that Kraft initiated last week are independent from today’s action and are continuing on a parallel path. Kraft’s injunction papers include the detailed inaccuracies of the allegations of breach.

Kraft Foods is continuing to conduct business under the terms of its contractual arrangements with Starbucks.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains a number of forward-looking statements.  Words such as “believe,” “anticipate” and “will” are intended to identify our forward-looking statements.  Examples of forward-looking statements include statements regarding the preliminary injunction, our agreement with Starbucks, the arbitration proceedings and our ongoing conduct under the agreement.  These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include the outcome of the arbitration and preliminary injunction request.  For additional information on other factors that could affect our forward-looking statements, see our risk factors, as they may be amended from time to time, set forth in our filings with the SEC.  We disclaim and do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement in this press release, except as required by applicable law or regulation.

About Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods is building a global snacks powerhouse and an unrivaled portfolio of brands people love.  With annual revenues of approximately $48 billion, the company is the world’s second largest food company, making delicious products for billions of consumers in approximately 170 countries.  The portfolio includes 11 iconic brands with revenues exceeding $1 billion – Oreo, Nabisco and LU biscuits; Milka and Cadbury chocolates; Trident gum; Jacobs and Maxwell House coffees; Philadelphia cream cheeses; Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings; and Oscar Mayer meats.  Approximately 70 brands generate annual revenues of more than $100 million.  Kraft Foods (www.kraftfoodscompany.com) is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index.

Sartori Awarded 6 Medals at World Cheese AwardsPLYMOUTH, Wis.  (Food-News.net)  Sartori took home 6 medals at the prestigious World Cheese Awards held in Birminham, UK this past weekend.  Over 2,600 entries from 29 countries were entered into this year’s competition, with 201 judges from 19 countries rating the cheese. “Sartori is honored to be a part of the elite that were awarded medals in this incredible competition. We really owe it to our local patron milk farmers who provide us with the highest quality milk, and our talented cheesemakers that hand craft these products. Combined they make these honors possible,” says Jim Sartori, CEO and third-generation owner of Sartori.

Of the 6 winners, 2 are new additions to the Sartori Reserve line.  Espresso BellaVitano was awarded a silver medal and will be launched nationally at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this January. Espresso BellaVitano combines the sweet, creamy BellaVitano with a premium roasted Italian espresso for the perfect dessert or maybe even as a breakfast starter.  Sartori’s Balsamic BellaVitano, which pairs well with red ales, Prosecco or a Pinot Noir, also took a silver medal in the competition.

Sartori’s Basil and Olive Oil Asiago, with its slightly spicy, nutty, and fruity notes was awarded a bronze medal.

Another new Sartori cheese, Sartori Reserve Extra-Aged Fontina earned a bronze. Red grapes, walnuts, light reds and dark ales pair well with this cheese.

SarVecchio Parmesan, won yet another award (silver medal) on the international stage.  The most highly decorated American Parmesan cheese, Sartori’s SarVecchio Parmesan has won 19 awards alone. Enjoy the mellow, caramel flavors and crystal texture of this fine cheese with dark chocolate, dried figs, red or green grapes, mixed nuts and a bottle of red wine.

About Sartori

Sartori Cheese has been producing artisan and premium cheese for over seven decades for the Specialty, Retail, Ingredient, and Restaurant markets.  Based in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sartori has an impressive array of award winning cheese noted for innovative approaches and consistent top quality across their entire line.  For more information, please visit www.sartorifoods.com or call us directly at 800-558-5888.

Consider Bardwell Farm Brings Home the Gold From the 2010 World Cheese CompetitionWEST PAWLET, Vt.  (Food-News.net)  Consider Bardwell Farm, renowned producer of handmade raw milk cheeses, brought home three medals—including a gold—from the prestigious World Cheese Awards held in Birmingham, England and announced on November 27th.

ManchesterGOLD WINNER

A rustic mountain cheese with a nutty and earthy bite that typifies the unique terroir of the farm.

With milk from rotationally grazed goats, it is made by setting the curd with a native culture derived from the milk of a single goat named Dandelion.

  • Raw goat tomme, aged 4-6 months, 3 lb wheels

PAWLETSILVER WINNER

An Italian-style, versatile toma with a creamy texture, broad palate appeal, and bright bite, available year-round.

  • Raw cow toma, aged 3-6 months,  10 lb wheels

DORSETSILVER WINNER

A soft ripening cheese with a rich, buttery texture and seasonally influenced pungency; available year-round.

  • Raw cow washed rind, aged 2-4 months, 3 lb wheels

The World Cheese Awards 2010, the Oscars of Cheese, in conjunction with the BBC Good Food Show, was comprised of more than 300 judges, including leading cheese buyers, retail experts, chefs, and food journalists. Over 2,600 cheeses from over 26 countries including the UK, Europe, the USA, South Africa, and Australia competed.  

Consider Bardwell Farm, an integral part of New England cheese making since 1864, was the first cheese-making co-op in Vermont, founded by Consider Stebbins Bardwell.  Today, Angela Miller, Russell Glover, Chris Gray, and master cheese maker Peter Dixon continue the tradition with goat milk from their herd of 100 Oberhaslis and cow milk from two neighboring Jersey herds. All of the cheeses are made by hand in small batches from antibiotic and hormone free whole, fresh milk, using only microbial (non-animal) rennet, and are aged on the farm. The farm was recently awarded Animal Welfare Approved Seal of Approval, reflecting its attention to detail from field to table. (www.animalwelfareapproved.org).

Consider Bardwell Farm cheeses are featured at such restaurants as Jean Georges, Daniel, and The French Laundry and at prominent cheese shops nationwide. And Angela Miller’s journey to cheese glory is documented in her memoir, HAY FEVER: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life (Wiley).

Dr Pepper Celebrates Historic Date and 125 Years of Iconic FlavorPLANO, Texas  (Food-News.net)  Dr Pepper, the oldest major soft drink in America, today commemorates the 125th anniversary of the first time Dr Pepper was served at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, as recognized in documents filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The date concludes a yearlong celebration of the brand’s flavorful history.  The soft drink made a big splash at the World’s Fair in 1904 and has grown to become one of the most recognized brands enjoyed worldwide.

“This has been a landmark year for Dr Pepper and our fans, highlighting its rightful place in ‘pop’ culture,” said Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. “A true beverage original, Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft drink in America, and our fans have made us one of the best-selling soft drinks nationwide.”

Dr Pepper officially kicked off its anniversary year on the symbolic date of January 25, teaming up with advertising icon David Naughton and legendary rock band KISS to ring the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Dr Pepper Snapple Group President and CEO Larry Young and other company executives closed the trading day with the Dow gaining just over 23 points – coincidentally matching the 23 unique flavors of Dr Pepper. Naughton also led a choreographed sing-along of the classic “I’m a Pepper” jingle on the floor of the NYSE.

Continuing the celebration, the brand advertised its Dr Pepper Cherry flavor during Super Bowl XLIV with a new ad spot featuring KISS and tribute band MiniKISS.  And, this summer, Dr Pepper released six collectable cans inspired by the brand’s first 125 years, along with a  version made with real sugar. The anniversary cans featured legacy artwork and memorable advertising slogans such as “I’m a Pepper” and “10, 2 and 4.” In addition, 12-pack cases highlighted key moments in the brand’s history over the last century.

Rounding out the year, Dr Pepper partnered with the king of the deep fryer, Abel Gonzales, to host a 125th anniversary Dr Pepper cake competition at the State Fair of Texas. Gonzales judged the competition, introduced a Dr Pepper-inspired dipping sauce, and deep fried the winning entry to give it his signature State Fair flair.

Dr Pepper also brought the celebration online with an interactive visual timeline on DrPepper.com which highlights the brand’s most popular advertising campaigns and invites fans to upload photos and videos to mark their place in the brand’s rich history. The brand posted “125 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr Pepper” on Facebook and Twitter throughout the year. Dr Pepper now has more than 5.8 million fans on Facebook and over 25,000 Twitter followers.

“The enduring success of Dr Pepper can be attributed to its unique flavor and ability to connect with generations of fans. Fans of the brand view it as an exceptional and refreshing way to express their own uniqueness,” said Fleming.

For more information on Dr Pepper and its 125-year history, visit DrPepper.com.

About Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper, a brand of Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS), is the oldest major soft drink in the United States.  Since 1885, the 23 flavors of Dr Pepper have earned legions of fans that enjoy its unique, refreshing taste.  The brand is available in Regular, Diet, Caffeine Free and Cherry varieties. DPS is a leading producer of flavored soft drinks, marketing Dr Pepper and 50-plus other beverage brands across North America and the Caribbean.  For more information on Dr Pepper, visit www.drpepper.com or www.drpeppersnapple.com.

FDA Permits Wright County Egg to Begin Shipping Shell Eggs to ConsumersSILVER SPRING, Md.  (Food-News.net)  FDA today notified Wright County Egg LLC of Galt, Iowa, that the company has FDA’s concurrence to begin shipping shell eggs directly to the consumer market from two hen houses on one of its six farms.  The firm has not shipped eggs to the consumer market since August 2010, when the company’s eggs were associated with the multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE).

“During the outbreak, I said that FDA would not agree to the sale of eggs to consumers from Wright County Egg until we had confidence that they could be shipped and consumed safely,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., “After four months of intensive work by the company and oversight, testing, and inspections by FDA, I am satisfied that time has come.”  

FDA’s decision is based on the agency’s verification that the company has taken the necessary corrective measures in these two houses to address all four pathways of contamination that may have contributed to the outbreak.  These include:

  • Contaminated egg-laying environment: The laying hens present in these houses at the time of the outbreak have been removed and the houses cleaned, sanitized and tested to ensure that they are no longer contaminated with SE.  A biosecurity plan has been developed and implemented to minimize the risk of contamination from other houses or other farms. 
  • Infected pullets (pullets are young chickens before the start of egg-laying): Pullets previously in the houses were replaced with SE negative pullets that have been vaccinated for SE.
  • Rodents: The severe rodent problem that could have contaminated feed and egg-laying environments has been corrected and a system put in place to control and monitor rodents on a weekly basis.
  • Contaminated feed: Corrective actions included cleaning and disinfecting the feed mill; correcting the structural defects; eliminating egg shells, meat and bone meal from the feed; and testing of feed ingredients and feed for SE.  

“These extensive corrective actions address the significant contamination problems and support the resumption of distribution of eggs to the table market from these two hen houses,” said Don Kraemer, deputy director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition.

The company has implemented controls to prevent recurrence of the problems that led to the outbreak. FDA has confirmed the corrective measures and implementation of the company’s preventive controls at these two houses through on-site inspections conducted in October and November 2010.  Eggs from these two houses and the house environments tested negative twice by FDA for SE and tested negative once by Wright County Egg.  The firm will continue to test these houses monthly for the presence of SE.

Since October, FDA inspections of the Wright County Egg facilities have involved 13 investigators and more than 900 man hours.  During the past six weeks at Wright County Egg, FDA collected and analyzed 40 feed samples, 236 environmental samples and 13,900 shell eggs. Based on the totality of information, including FDA’s inspection and testing data, FDA concluded that distribution of shell eggs from these two houses is warranted.  

FDA will continue to conduct environmental and egg sampling and will conduct periodic inspections to verify the effectiveness of the safety measures in place.  Corrective actions continue to be implemented for Wright County Egg’s remaining houses, operating on six farms.   The Agency will work with Wright County Egg officials to assure appropriate steps are taken before permitting resumption of shipping to the shell egg market from other houses and farms.

FDA letter of concurrence to Wright County Egg is available at:  

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/food/NewsEvents/WhatsNewinFood/ucm235213.pdf .

Information on the August egg recall is available at http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/WhatsNewinFood/ucm222684.htm

Additional information on food safety is available at http://www.foodsafety.gov/.

Media Inquiries: Pat El-Hinnawy, 301-796-4763, patricia.el-hinnawy@fda.hhs.gov

Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA