Hormel reports profit decline for 4Q

AUSTIN, Minn. – Hormel Foods Corp. on Tuesday reported that its profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 has declined five percent from last year. The company had a six percent increase in operation profit for the full fiscal year.

The company reported fourth quarter net earnings of $67.8 million, down 33 percent from earnings of $101.2 million a year earlier. Included in this year’s quarterly results is a $20.4 million investment loss in the company’s rabbi trust, compared with a $4.6 million gain a year ago.

For the fiscal year ending on October 26, 2008, Hormel reported net earnings were $285.5 million, or $2.08 per diluted share (down 4 percent), compared to $301.9 million a year ago, or $2.17 per diluted share. Included in the annual results was a $29 million loss in the rabbi trust, compared with a gain of $6.9 million a year ago. Sales totaled $6.75 billion, up 9 percent, from $6.19 billion in the same period last year.

Jeffrey M. Ettinger, Hormel chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer said the rabbi trust was established in 2003 to fund certain nonqualified supplemental executive retirement and deferred income plans. The trust assets are considered trading securities, accordingly, gains and losses are included in our quarterly earnings on a mark-to-market basis, he said. Recent stock market declines pushed the trust down for the year.

“For the full year, we generated strong volume and sales increases across each of our segments. In addition, four of our five segments had earnings up from a year ago, and total segment operating profits were up six percent from a year ago. We continue to grow our sales of new value-added products and remain on track to meet our goal of $2 billion of new product sales by 2012,” Ettinger commented.


Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

N.J. firm recalls beef on E. coli fears

WASHINGTON – Dutch Prime Foods Inc. of Long Branch, N.J. has recalled about 345 pounds of ground beef products on concerns that they are contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service on Monday said that five-pound and 10-pound vacuum sealed bags of “Dutch Prime Foods Hamburger” were subject to the recall. They were packed in 5- and 10-pound shipping cases which bear the establishment number "EST. 5206" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection. The beef was produced on Nov. 18 and distributed to restaurants in New Jersey.

The problem was discovered through routine FSIS sampling. The agency said it has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product.


Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

Survey: Cost of Thanksgiving rises 6 percent

WASHINGTON – The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said Monday that the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is expected to be 6 percent higher this year.

The organizations 23rd annual price survey reportedly shows the average cost this year is $44.61, up from last year’s average of $42.26.

The AFBF’s list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10.

The cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $19.09 or roughly $1.19 per pound, reflects an increase of 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.46 per turkey compared to 2007. The AFBF said the turkey is the largest contributor to the overall increase in the cost of the 2008 dinner.

The survey was reportedly first conducted in 1986. The AFBF said it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation.

For more information, go to www.fb.org/.


Source: American Meat Institute