Sara Lee Corp. reported a strong increase in operating income for the third quarter of fiscal 2010, driven by higher operating segment income in four of its five ongoing business segments. In particular, the North American Retail and International Beverage segments reported impressive operating results.

Net sales were unchanged versus the year-ago period and cash from operations continued to show strong year-over-year improvement.

“Our strong third quarter operating results, highlighted by the performance of our North American Retail and International Beverage businesses, reflect the foundation we’ve built over the past five years and the real momentum we’ve developed,” said Sara Lee Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Brenda C. Barnes. “By improving our sales mix, increasing market share, launching and supporting successful new products worldwide and driving efficiencies through our Project Accelerate initiative, we have the ability to raise our guidance for the third consecutive quarter.

“To further build on the success in our core businesses, we plan to make a significant investment in marketing behind key new product launches in the fourth quarter. As we look to the future, we remain well-positioned for success and expect adjusted operating income from continuing operations to increase in fiscal 2011. I’ve never been more confident in our ability to deliver sustained, high-quality growth and increased shareholder value,” Barnes concluded.

The company also announced that the Sara Lee Fresh Ideas pre-sliced deli meats portfolio is expanding to include products for consumers concerned with lowering their sodium. Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Lower Sodium pre-sliced deli meats are available in four varieties, all of which have earned the American Heart Association’s heart-check mark 

Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Lowers Sodium pre-sliced deli meats include:
•         Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – 25 percent less sodium than USDA data for turkey breast
•         Honey Roasted Turkey Breast – 25 percent less sodium than USDA data for turkey breast
•         Honey Ham – 32 percent less sodium than USDA data for ham
•         Virginia Brand Ham – 32 percent less sodium than USDA data for ham

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Smithfield Foodservice sponsors Shane's Rib Shack giveaway

For the third year in a row, Shane's Rib Shack will celebrate May, the official month of BBQ, by giving away a free 1/2 rack of slow cooked ribs, provided by Smithfield; a large beverage and a "Shaniac" T-Shirt (XL) to the first 100 customers to arrive at each of their locations, on Saturday, May 15, 2010. For those who don't make the first 100 places in line, the next 250 customers will each receive a VIP card to treat a friend to Shane's with a Free Sandwich with the purchase of a sandwich and two drinks - offer valid through May 31, 2010.

"It's impossible to imagine not rewarding our customers with this once a year free rib offer. For the third year in a row, Shane's Rib Shack will honor its loyal following with a well deserved free 1/2 rack of ribs," says Shane Thompson, president and founder of Shane's Rib Shack. "Thanks to Smithfield for sponsoring this event and enabling us to share this special day with Shaniacs across the country. I can't think of a better way to thank our fan base, while at the same time celebrating 'National BBQ Month'."

Source: Shane’s Rib Shack

Hain Celestial adds equity share of Empire Kosher Poultry

The Hain Celestial Group Inc., a leading natural and organic products company, reported results for the third quarter ended March 31, 2010. The company also announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire the assets and business of World Gourmet Marketing LLC, producer and marketer of Sensible Portions Veggie Straws and Pita Bites and that Hain Pure Protein (HPP), a joint venture where the Company holds a 48.7% interest, will divest its Kosher Valley brand.

"We are… pleased that HPP has entered into a letter of intent to exchange its Kosher Valley brand and customer relationships with Empire Kosher Poultry Inc. for an equity interest in Empire. We are delighted that this combination will expand the breadth of the product lines and their distribution reach," said Irwin D. Simon, a director of HPP. "Empire has been a premier brand in kosher poultry for many years, and Kosher Valley will benefit greatly from Empire's production capabilities and reputation for delivering high-quality products to a broad market. Hain Pure Protein has made significant investments over the last year in building Kosher Valley into the strong brand that it is today." Simon is expected to become a director of Empire.

The company's share of the after-tax losses incurred by Kosher Valley amounted to $701,000 in the three months and $1,644,000 in the nine months ended March 31, 2010, which had the effect of reducing Hain Celestial's diluted earnings per share by $0.02 in the three months and $0.04 in the nine months, and therefore this transaction is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial.

Net sales for Hain Celestial in the third quarter totaled $222,098,000 versus $234,582,000 in the prior year period after excluding net sales of $30,346,000 by HPP. Total net sales on a GAAP basis in the prior year quarter amounted to $264,928,000 including HPP, which was then a consolidated subsidiary. Net sales in the current year third quarter were negatively affected by a total of approximately $24,000,000 as a result of inventory reductions at two major distributors and the phasing out of the supply of fresh sandwiches to Marks and Spencer in the United Kingdom, offset by $4,814,000 of favorable changes in exchange rates for foreign currencies.

Source: Hain Celestial Group Inc.

Carl's Jr. unveils chicken teriyaki sandwich

Carl's Jr. welcomes the warmer weather with its newest offering: the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich. The new sandwich includes a charbroiled chicken breast, sweet-and-savory teriyaki glaze, charbroiled Dole pineapple, Swiss cheese, lettuce, red onion, tomato and mayonnaise, all on a honey-wheat bun.

"The Carl's Jr. Teriyaki Burger is still the only one of its kind in the fast-food world and it has earned a very loyal following among both our guests and our franchisees," said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing at Carl's Jr. "The unique taste of the teriyaki glaze, grilled pineapple and fresh produce not only makes for a great burger, but we had so many guests asking if they could substitute a charbroiled chicken breast fillet that we opted to give the sandwich its own place on the menu. In fact, our franchisees are also such fans of the flavor combination that we will be introducing other menu items that celebrate the tastes of Hawaii all summer long."

In 2007, Carl's Jr. was the first major fast-food restaurant chain to offer a teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple - something previously only found in sit-down burger restaurants. "Carl's Jr. has become known as the fast-food place where the public can find the same kind of burgers and sandwiches they previously could only get at more expensive, sit-down restaurants," added Haley. "The Teriyaki Burger and the new Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich are two delicious examples of that philosophy."

Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.

FSIS announces two tiny recalls

The Food Safety and Inspection Service announced two product recalls, totaling 110 pounds of products. Boston Salads and Provisions Inc., a Boston, Mass., establishment, is recalling approximately 40 pounds of buffalo style chicken salad products that may contain foreign materials, and International Gourmet, a Springfield, Va., establishment, is recalling approximately 70 pounds of prosciutto products that may be contaminated withListeria monocytogenes.

The chicken salad products subject to recall include 5-pound containers of "Boston Salads Buffalo Style Chicken Salad." Each container bears the establishment number "P-17999" inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as a sell-by date of "MAY-19-2010" and instructions to "KEEP REFRIGERATED." The chicken salad products subject to recall were produced on April 29, 2010, and were distributed to wholesale and retail establishments in Maine and Massachusetts. The problem was discovered after the company received a customer complaint about finding pieces of metal in the product. FSIS has not received any consumer complaints or reports of injury at this time.

The prosciutto products subject to recall are various weight cases of "Casa Italia C.I. Prosciutto Boneless." The exterior of each case bears the number "665" inside the Canadian inspection legend and the lot number "70." A yellow sticker placed on the foil wrapped product inside the case also bears the lot number "70." The products were distributed to retailers in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The problem was discovered by FSIS microbiological testing of imported product resulting in a positive sample for Listeria monocytogenes. FSIS was notified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that the implicated product was also distributed to an Importer of Record and further distributed, thus resulting in this recall. FSIS has received no reports of illness as a result of consuming this product.

Source: FSIS