Foster Farms has reached an agreement to purchase the Fernando's and El Extremo foodservice brands from ConAgra Foods. Financial terms of the deal, expected to close next week, have not been disclosed.

The Fernando's brand is one of the original foodservice, frozen Mexican brands and dates back to 1982. With a full line of authentic Mexican entrees and appetizers ready to heat and serve, Fernando's provides food service operators with a wide selection of hand-held, frozen Mexican items. From hand-rolled burritos to taquitos, mini-tacos and enchiladas, Fernando's products offer high-quality, convenient options for foodservice operators offering premium Mexican menu items to their customers. El Extremo is also a foodservice, frozen Mexican brand and serves the school-lunch program distribution channel.

"This acquisition is a strategic fit for Foster Farms," said Ron Foster, Foster Farms' president and CEO, "and will give us capabilities to expand our current businesses in the foodservice, retail, and C-Store channels."

A manufacturing facility in Compton, Calif., was included in the sale. The plant is used exclusively to produce hand-held Mexican products under the Fernando's and El Extremo labels and will remain operational.

ConAgra Foods and Foster Farms have agreed to a transition service agreement to manage the order entry, warehousing and delivery of Fernando's and El Extremo products and to provide sales support during the transition period. "Our shared goal is for this transition to be as seamless as possible for customers and they will continue to receive uninterrupted service," said Foster.

Source: Foster Farms

Tyson relaunches Star Ranch Angus brand

Tyson Fresh Meats announces the national re-launch of its Star Ranch Angus brand, a premium mCOOL Category ”A” Angus beef line. All Star Ranch Angus cattle are born and completely processed start to finish in the United States, and the brand's fresh beef products are offered at thousands of grocery retailers nationwide as well as expanding in foodservice.

Originally established in 2003, the re-launch of Star Ranch Angus is based on extensive consumer research that reveals core attributes that resonate with consumers such as Angus and Made in USA. The logo and tagline are re-designed to focus on what consumers said were most important, including consistent tenderness, great rich flavor and made in the United States.

“Tyson Fresh Meats is dedicated to providing only the highest quality fresh beef and pork products to consumers,” said Rick Janke, brand manager for Tyson Fresh Meats. “In a time when consumers see everything made overseas, Star Ranch Angus is 100-percent American made and comes with a 100 percent consumer guarantee to provide a high-end eating experience every time. Our team has worked very hard to retool this exciting brand for our partners nationwide and we are committed to consumer satisfaction.”

“We have three [distribution centers] servicing nearly a thousand stores in 14 states and we are seeing a very positive response to Star Ranch Angus since its re-launch,” said Mike Wallace, vice president of perishables for Affiliated Foods Midwest. “Our members have responded well to the line.”

Source: Tyson Fresh Meats

Wendy's adds boneless chicken wings

For the first time since it was acquired by Arby's and formed the Wendy's/Arby's Group, Wendy's has added a new item to its menu. Boneless chicken wings will be introduced over the next two weeks and are the first launch from the company's overhauled product development line. The company's new strategy is to develop products that can become menu mainstays instead of promotional items that only lead to temporary sales boosts, according to Dow Jones news reports.

"Consumers see through those things," Ken Calwell, Wendy's chief marketing officer, said in an interview. "What they're looking for are new core products." The wings will be available for a suggested price of $3.99, or $5.69 as a combo meal. They will be available in Sweet & Spicy Asian, Bold Buffalo and Honey Barbecue flavors. National advertising for the wings will start on June 22.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires

Zagat announces winners of Fast Food Survey

Regional favorite In-N-Out Burger has been crowned the nation’s primo patty purveyor in our latest Fast-Food Survey. With locations in just four Western states (California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona), In-N-Out nudged out behemoths Wendy’s, Burger King and McDonald’s to snare the Best Burger title.
McDonald's, meanwhile, retained its Best French Fry title and was voted tops in several other fast-food categories, including Best Breakfast Sandwich, Best Value and Most Child-Friendly. A total of 6,107 people participated in the survey.

“These chains offer a lot of value to diners, and in the current economic times that’s more important than ever,” explained Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. “Given the large number of such chains, even the most avid fast-food aficionado may need help in figuring out what’s best.” The results of the survey include:

Fast Food Chains
Best Burger: In-N-Out Burger, Wendy's, Burger King, McDonald's, Whataburger
Best Fried Chicken: KFC, Popeye's, Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, Church's Chicken, Culver's Frozen Custard
Best Grilled Chicken: Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread, Wendy's, Chipotle, El Pollo Loco
Best Value Menu: McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Burger King, Arby's
Best Value: McDonald's, Wendy's, In-N-Out Burger, Subway, Chipotle / Taco Bell (tied)

Top Rated Among Large Chains
Top Food:
In-N-Out Burger, Panera Bread, Papa Murphy's, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A

Top Rated Among Mega Chains (more than 5,000 U.S. locations)
Top Food:
Wendy's, Subway, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut

Full-Service Chains
Best Burger:
Red Robin, Ruby Tuesday, Cheesecake Factory, Steak 'n Shake, Chili's Grill & Bar
Best Steak: Outback Steakhouse, LongHorn Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, The Cheesecake Factory, Carrabba's Italian Grill
Top Food: P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Carrabba's Italian Grill, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Romano's Macaroni Grill

Source: Zagat, MSNBC

75-pound recall announced in South Carolina

Snow Creek Meat Processing, a Seneca, S.C., establishment is recalling approximately 75 pounds of fresh beef trim products that may be contaminated withE. coliO157:H7, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

The products involved in the recall are various sizes of Cryovac bags of "Beef Trimmings, Beef Item" packed in boxes. Each box bears the establishment number "EST. 20478" inside the USDA mark of inspection and a "Sell By" date of "06/02/09."

These fresh beef trim products were produced on June 2, 2009, and were distributed to retail establishments for further processing in North Carolina and South Carolina. The problem was discovered through FSIS microbiological sampling. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service