Trade associations speak out against increase in ethanol blend percentage

Several food and agriculture groups joined together to send a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voicing opposition to proposals to increase the levels at which ethanol can be blended into gasoline. The groups that signed the letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson include the American Meat Institute, National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council and the National Restaurant Association.


“We strongly support the development of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels, as well as policies that will help commercialize biofuels that will reduce our reliance on food and feed to produce fuel,” the letter states. “However, we are opposed to efforts to increase the amount of biofuel blended into our fuel supplies until sustainable biofuel alternatives are commercially available.


The groups ask that the EPA not permit gasoline blends with more than 10 percent ethanol until a series of conditions are met, including:

  • EPA and the Department of Energy complete a lifecycle assessment of the impact of intermediate blends on engines and certify that there are no performance, safety or environmental concerns with raising the blend level.
  • Cellulosic and advanced biofuels are commercially available through the country
  • Congress phases out the ethanol import tariff.


“Investing in cellulosic and advanced biofuels is one way the Administration can help ensure that we are not pitting our energy security policies against our food and climate security policies,” the letter states.


Source: AMI, NCC

A double shot of burger love

Burger King has introduced two bite-sized additions to its menu in the firm of BK Burger Shots and BK Breakfast Shots. Available in a two-pack or a six-pack, the Burger Shots offer mini-burgers topped with mustard, ketchup and two pickles on a fresh bun. The Breakfast Shots have thinly sliced ham, bacon or a sausage patty with an egg, cheese sauce and American cheese on a bun, available in a two-pack or a four-pack.


“BK Burger Shots might look small, but they are full of the big, flame-broiled taste our guests love,” said John Schaufelberger, senior vice president, global product marketing and innovation. The Burger Shots are available for $1.39 and $4.09, and the Breakfast Shots are $1.49 or $2.89.


Source: Burger King

Six years of growth for CKE Restaurants

CKE Restaurants announced blended same-store sales for the fiscal year ending Jan. 26 increased 1.7 percent, the company’s sixth consecutive year of positive blended same-store sales. Sales for Carls. Jr. increased 2.1 percent in FY 2009, an increase from 0.9% growth in FY 2008. Hardee’s restaurants saw growth of 1.2 percent in FY 2009, down slightly from FY 2008’s growth of 2.0 percent.


“Our brands continue to appeal to our existing consumer base as well as new consumers who have traded down from casual dining chains,” said Andrew Puzder, CEO. “Even in today’s challenging environment, consumers realize the value of our premium-quality menu offerings.”


Carl’s Jr. has had nine consecutive years of same-store sale growth, while Hardee’s has grown for three straight years. The company’s year-end blended average unit volume was $1,232,000, a $70,000 increase over the previous year.


Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.

Sara Lee reports second quarter results

Sara Lee Corp. reported net sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2009 of $3.3 billion, a 2.0 percent decrease over the same period last year. International business for the company was down, thanks in part to unfavorable currency exchange rates and lower unit volumes tied to worsening economic conditions in key European markets. However, strong net sales growth in the retail (8.4 percent increase) and fresh bakery business (10.6 percent growth) helped offset those losses.


“Despite challenging economic times, our North American businesses continued their strong performance in the second quarter,” said Brenda Barnes, chairman and CEO of Sara Lee. “The retail and fresh bakery businesses drove net sales and adjusted operated segment income growth, effectively managed their costs and gained market share in most key categories.”


Net sales for the retail division increased 8.4 percent to $746 million in the second quarter, driven by price increases to cover higher input costs and favorable sales mix. Each of the company’s major retail meat brands -- Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean and Sara Lee -- increased market share in their key categories, according to Information Resources Inc. share data, 12 weeks ending Dec. 14, 2008. Unit volumes were basically flat for the first six months.


Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Would-be thief arrested after fowl play

A man who used a frozen chicken as a tool to break into a café was arrested after injuring himself. The thief, who had stolen the chicken from a butcher’s shop in Macksville, Australia, used the chicken and some rocks to try and break into the café, according to Reuters. However, he cut his wrist and was forced to call for an ambulance. He was arrested after being given aid and was charged with breaking and entering.


There was no word on the condition of the chicken.
Source: Reuters