Peanut health scare leads to chicken products recall

The Hain Celestial Group Inc., based in West Chester, Penn., is recalling approximately 983,700 pounds of frozen chicken entrees because they contain peanut products recalled by the Peanut Corporation of America.


The products subject to recall are 10-ounce cartons of Ethnic Gourmet Chicken Pad Thai (UPC code 18687-70054), which contains peanut sauce and peanuts as garnish, and 12-ounce bowls of Trader Ming’s Spicy Kung Pao Chicken (UPC code 0379526), which contains crushed and whole peanuts as garnish. The shipping containers bear the establishment number “P-9744” printed on the side of the boxes.


The chicken products were distributed to retail establishments throughout the United States and may still be in consumers’ freezers, based on the products’ shelf life. There have been no reports of illnesses linked to the chicken entrees.


Source: Food Safety Inspection Service

Meadowbrook Farms lays off 600

Meadowbrook Farms has temporarily laid off 600 employees at its pork processing plant in Rantoul, Ill. The layoffs, according to The Daily Journal, stem from a Chicago-based food distributor defaulting on a contract with Meadowbrook. The company lost from $4 to $5 million in the dafault, said Plil Bloomer, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Timothy Johnson, who is attempting to secure a USDA “bridge loan” for Meadowbrook.


“There is something in the works,” said Bloomer. “We are waiting for information from Washington to try to get this bridge loan.”


Meadowbrook is a farm cooperative, owned by about 200 farmers and pork producers that is headquartered in Belleville, Ill. “They didn’t close,” said Bloomer. “They laid off 600 people temporarily and are trying to get this loan. I know a lot of farmers around the region haven’t been paid and are waiting. It is a very difficult situation.”


Source: The Daily Journal

Burger King announces positive second quarter results

Burger King Holdings Inc., headquartered in Miami, announced its 20th consecutive quarter of worldwide positive comparable sales and its 19th consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth in the United States and Canada. Comparable worldwide sales were up 2.9 percent, while the U.S./Canada growth was 1.9 percent.


Revenues for the quarter were $634 million, up 3 percent from the same period last year. Burger King opened 125 new net restaurants, its best quarterly development growth rate in eight years.


“Our core business remains strong,” said John Chidsey, chairman and CEO. “Even in this uncertain economic environment, we posted positive comparable sales and accelerated our net restaurant openings. We remain focused on profitability growing the brand by increasing our global footprint, providing our guests with an exceptional value-for-the-money dining experience, and continuing to strengthen market awareness as a socially relevant brand.”


Source: Burger King Holdings Inc.

Researchers offer three “recession strategies”

In today’s difficult and uncertain economy, manufacturers and retailers need to adopt three specific strategies to protect themselves and increase profitability, according to the early findings of a group of consumer research experts.


1. The first strategy is to offer unprecedented value to shoppers, says Hoss Tabrizi, managing director of Strategic Marketing Sciences, Newport Beach, Calif. “The evidence is overwhelming — Wal-Mart recently reported that a majority of its growth is coming from top-quartile consumers who previously did not shop there,” he says. “High-end consumer goods are in a state of free-fall. Spending is being redirected towards value.”


2. “Manufacturers and retailers must partner to pass along everyday price decreases reflective of input cost declines,” notes Dan Graham, the San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based vice president of consulting services for Dechert-Hampe, Northbrook, Ill. Traditionally, about 60% of price decreases by manufacturers have been passed along by retailers, he explains, adding that “Over-reliance on deep discounting is an inefficient mechanism for winning and retaining customers.”


3. The third strategy is to continue to track long-term consumer trends and develop new products and plans to meet evolving trends, says Ben Ball, senior vice president, Dechert-Hampe. “Keep your eye on the horizon,” he urges. “And don’t rely on backward-looking consumer research and analytics, as this information is likely to be a poor proxy for future consumer behavior.”


Dechert-Hampe and Strategic Marketing Sciences, in conjunction with three other analytic and consulting firms, are launching a major research initiative aimed at measuring future consumer behavior and developing specific strategies that can be used efficiently and effectively by manufacturers and retailers ( With so much uncertainty about how long or how deep this recession will be — and how to market both now and after the economy recovers — there is a real need for insightful and action-oriented research, say Bell, Graham and Tabrizi.