Hormel Foods Corp., announced that the company’s common stock was added to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index after the market closed on Tuesday, March 3.

“We are honored to be aligned with this distinguished list of America’s leading companies,” said Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the more than 19,000 employees around the world.”

Hormel Foods was added to the S&P 500 GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard) Packaged Foods and Meats Sub-Industry index.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

Wienerschnitzel brings out a bigger dog

Wienerschnitzel has introduced the Big Original Chili Dog, which is 84 percent larger than the Original Chili Dog that the company is most known for. The Big Dog was launched on March 1 with a limited-time introductory price of two for $3.

The product was in development and testing for six months and could become a permanent part of the menu, depending on demand. The company launched a 1/3-Pound Spicy Polish Sausage earlier this year and will introduce a Angus Beef Dog later in 2009.

“Wienerschnitzel has been the leader in hot dogs for almost 50 years – but rather than resting on our laurels, we’re stepping it up a few notches with bold new products, promotions and a new commitment to quality and the simple things our customers want,” explained Tom Amberger, vice president of marketing for Wienerschnitzel. The company has 353 stores in 12 states and Guam.

Source: Wienerschnitzel

CKE reports blended same-store sales drop

Due in part to torrential rains in key markets and discounts from competitors, CKE restaurants reported a blended 0.6 percent decrease in same-store sales for the first quarter of FY2010, with Carl's Jr. dropping 3.6 percent as Hardee's gained 3.2 percent.

Andrew Puzder, president of CKE noted that sales may have been impacted by competitors offering discounted menu items. “This tactic has been exacerbated in recent weeks by certain brands actually giving their food away. We believe our competitors will be unable to maintain this level of discounting long term as it has already severely impacted the margins at a number of brands. In any event, on a pricing basis, we have no intention of trying to compete with free because, no matter what anyone says, you can’t ‘make that up on volume.’” He also pointed out that the key Carl's Jr. market of Los Angeles has recorded three times the amount of rain from the year before, while others have had twice the amount. “Good news for the drought, bad news for sales,” he said.

To address the issues of competitor discounting, he added, “we will place renewed emphasis on our consumers’ economic concerns by stressing, in our new products and in our cutting-edge advertising, the value of our premium products, particularly as compared to casual dining fare, rather than stressing low prices alone.”

Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.

Australian carbon tax may cost beef processors $45 million a year

Australia's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is to be implemented next year for companies in the food processing sector, and the resulting costs may cost the country's top meat processors $63 million (Aus.) a year. Meat processors that emit more than 20,000 tons of carbon a year will have to pay for emission permits, which could cost beef processors $45 million a year and sheep processors $18 million.

According to the Weekly Times, efforts to include meat processing into the agriculture sector, which are excluded from the plan until 2015, have not been successful. The Australian Meat Industry Council says the plan will include at least 15 processing plants and possibly more. Among the largest companies affected by the plan are Cargill, Swift Australia and Teys Brothers. Tom Maguire, corporate affairs manager for Teys Brothers, says the company is expecting to pay $4.6 million across its four plants.

“These are very substantial costs which export customers will not pay,” he said. “The reality is, livestock producers are going to foot the bill. We've got no choice but to pass the extra costs back to them.” The AMIC estimates the cost could be about $8 per cow, putting those companies at a competitive disadvantage.

“It's obviously a huge concern to us as an industry,” said Kevin Cottrill, AMIC chief executive.

Source: Weekly Times
By Sam Gazdziak