Tight credit and weakened global economies may cause chicken exports to dip in 2009 when compared to 2008, said Joe Sanderson, CEO of Sanderson Farms. Sanderson spoke Tuesday at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Chicago.

“We think exports are going to be OK this year. There is not going to be a big drop-off in exports,” he said. “I think a conservative assumption would be that exports out of the U.S. will not be quite as robust as they were a year ago.”

“We do think the value of the dollar versus other currencies is definitely going to affect exports and we do think the worldwide economic situation is going to affect them. But we don't think there is going to be a collapse,” he added. The USDA has predicted that poultry exports will be down 13 percent, while chicken production would drop 3 percent.

Sales to Russia, the largest overseas buyer of U.S. chicken have been fairly strong so far, although that business could weaken. The country has been working to increase its chicken production and may be able to meet its own needs within three years, Reuters reports.

Source: Reuters

Land O'Frost adds Canadian bacon cuts

Land O’Frost has introduced Breakfast Cuts, a thicker-cut Canadian bacon targeted to the breakfast sector. It is available in two flavors: Natural hickory Smoked and Sweet Country Maple. The smoked product gets its flavor from a traditional smokehouse process, using natural wood chips. The Sweet Country Maple product is flavored with natural maple, which is unique compared to traditional Canadian bacon products on the market.

“As a lunchtime favorite for more than 50 years, it’s a natural extension for Land O’Frost to take a seat at customers’ breakfast table,” said David Van Eekeren, president. “Breakfast Cuts is our opportunity to reach loyal customers of our regular Canadian bacon and new shoppers across product segments.”

Land O’Frost is currently the third-largest brand of Canadian bacon in the United States, and the top-selling brand in several markets across the West and Northwest regions.

Source: Land O’Frost

Darden income drops in Q3, performs better than expected

Darden Restaurant Inc., parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Restaurant., posted a 15 percent decline in third-quarter net income but reported that same-store sales were stabilizing from December lows. Overall, the company’s net income was $107.5 million, which beat previous estimates, thanks to tighter cost controls, CNN reports. Revenue dropped 0.7 percent to $1.8 billion.

As a result, Darden raised its fiscal-year earnings view and said it expected sales to be flat to down 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, same-store sales dropped 3.2 percent, with Olive Garden dropping 1.4 percent, Red Lobster dropping 4.6 percent and LongHorn dropping 5.4 percent.

“We're pleased with our sales and earnings performance this quarter given what was clearly a period of considerable macroeconomic weakness and consumer uncertainty,” said Clarence Otis, chairman and CEO of Darden. "As many consumers respond to the current environment by reducing dining out frequency, having strong brands matters more than ever. And, our competitively superior same-restaurant sales results are the clearest indication that Darden has proven brands with broad appeal and strong guest loyalty.”

Source: CNN , Darden Restaurant Inc.

Carl's Jr. brings back Jumbo Chili Dog

Carl’s Jr. announced it was bringing back its Jumbo Chili Dog, one of the products that the restaurant was founded on in the 1940s. Carl N. Karcher and his wife Margaret opened their first restaurant enterprise in 1941 - a hot dog cart at the corner of Florence and Central in Los Angeles. They originally sold hot dogs and chili dogs, and they were an instant success, remaining on the menu at Carl’s Jr. restaurants well into the 1990s.

Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing at Carl’s Jr., said “We’ve had great success in recent years with Chili Cheeseburgers and Chili Cheese Fries, so it made sense to give another all-American standard a try, especially since Chili Dogs have a nostalgic meaning for us. This time around, we brought in Farmer John hot dogs, of ‘Dodger Dog’ fame, and topped them with spicy beef chili, mustard and chopped onions, dubbing the resulting creations, ‘Jumbo Chili Dogs.’”

Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.