About a quarter of American adults (24 percent) say they have eaten less this year to ensure their children have enough food, a startling expression of parents’ caring for their children that also sheds light on a the problem of hunger in America. Almost one in 10 (8 percent) Americans say they have gone to bed hungry at least once in the past year due to lack of money for food.

According to The 2009 Hormel Hunger Survey, released today by Hormel Foods Corp., not being able to feed one’s family is among the most distressing circumstances Americans can face—on par with spending a night in jail—and far more distressing than getting fired from a job. In the survey, 82 percent said they would be highly upset, uncomfortable or embarrassed if they were not able to provide enough food for their family, compared with 83 percent who felt that way about spending a night in jail and 59 percent who cited those feelings in regard to getting fired from a job.

If they did find themselves in a position where they were unable to buy enough food for themselves or their family, nearly four in 10 (38 percent) Americans said they would be very uncomfortable asking for food donations. The group most distressed about not being able to provide enough food for one’s family was the 18-44 year range, generally those most likely to have young children.

“With the results from this year’s survey, it is clear hunger is more than a physical condition; it is a deep emotional concern in the hearts and minds of many Americans, especially during these difficult economic times,” said Julie Craven, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel Foods. “We conducted The 2009 Hormel Hunger Survey to continue building understanding about the problem of hunger in America and to shed light on what is one of the most serious issues facing our country today. These disturbing statistics underscore the issue.”
In the fourth annual Hormel Foods study on Americans’ experiences with and views on hunger, more than half (52 percent) of Americans said they personally know someone who has received food from a food bank or shelter this year. In addition, about one in 10 (11 percent) say someone in their household has received food from a food bank or shelter and 16 percent think it is at least somewhat likely someone in their immediate family will need food assistance in the next year. Those who have been forced to seek food donations were most likely (51 percent) to say the reason was unemployment.

More than two-thirds (69 percent) of Americans believe the problem of hunger has increased in the United States during the past year, and women are more likely than men to have this sentiment (76 percent vs. 61 percent). In addition, nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) are concerned about hunger in the United States, including nearly half (46 percent) who are very concerned about it.

“Despite the early indicators of an economic recovery, lingering unemployment and other lagging effects of the recession are causing more Americans than ever to go hungry,” said Jean Kinsey, a professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, and director of The Food Industry Center. “As the results of this survey indicate, hunger is a distressing and humiliating circumstance, but Americans agree it is not too hopeless to try to help.”

To help combat the problem of hunger in the United States, most people have donated both food (75 percent) and money (61 percent), and three in 10 have done volunteer work. The majority (80 percent) agree it is not hopeless to try to help eradicate hunger around the world and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) at least somewhat agree that Americans have a responsibility to help people in other countries who do not have enough food to eat.

“We are encouraged to learn that, despite troubling statistics about the number of hungry people around the globe, most Americans still believe that by working together, we can help end the problem of hunger,” said Craven.

Survey findings showed that 92 percent of Americans at least somewhat agree that children should receive hunger relief first, no matter where they live, and 92 percent at least somewhat agree that, despite the recession in the United States, many people around the world are much worse off than Americans are.

As part of Hormel Foods’ commitment to hunger causes, the company made cash, in-kind and equipment donations totaling $3.9 million, and donated 81,000 pounds of protein, providing charitable meals for 430,000 people last year.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

Sara Lee introduces turkey Lit'l Smokies

Hillshire Farm has announced its latest product to hit supermarket shelves, Hillshire Farm Turkey Lit’l Smokies. This spin on the classic cocktail link is perfect for holiday entertaining, and with two-thirds less fat than regular Lit’l Smokies, Turkey Lit’l Smokies cocktail links will delight your guests without adding too many calories to the festivities.

Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies cocktail links have always been a holiday party pleaser, with over 18 million pounds being sold in the months of November and December alone. With consumers watching their waistlines around the holidays, Hillshire Farm Turkey Lit’l Smokies are a timely and ideal alternative to the traditionally calorie-rich holiday hors d’ oeuvres, the company says.

“Now more than ever, consumers are looking for simple ways to make small changes in their diets without making big sacrifices on taste,” said Tim Roush, vice president, lunch and dinner brands for Hillshire Farm. “Our goal was to take one of America’s favorite bit sized appetizers and offer it in a leaner, white meat with all of the quality and flavor Hillshire Farm is known for and we couldn't be more pleased with the result.”

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Murray's Chicken unveils chicken soup kit

Murray’s new Grandma’s Chicken Soup Kit provides the all-natural, farm-fresh ingredients and simple instructions to guarantee a perfect pot every time. Included in the kit is an all-natural, whole, antibiotic and hormone free chicken already cut up. A sealed pouch full of great-tasting, fresh-cut classic soup vegetables contains carrots, celery chunks, slice onions, potatoes, parsnips, leek and dill. The no-fail directions guarantee a foolproof pot of delicious chicken soup. Just add the chicken, fresh vegetables, kosher salt, pepper and little bit of love in a pot of water and the result unfolds like magic. An msg-free loaded bouillon cube is needed.

“Believe it or not, the number one question we get at Murray’s is how to make chicken soup from scratch. Cooks have forgotten this time-honored tradition” says Steve Gold, vice president of marketing for Murray’s Chicken. “Chicken soup used to be a staple on the dinner table, but now there’s a real fear of preparing it from scratch.”
Murray’s soup kit feeds a family of six. Cooks can add noodles, rice or matzoth balls to make soup extra hearty, or serve the broth and chicken separately for lighter fare.

In keeping with its commitment to the environment, the soup kit packaging is eco-friendly and eliminates the typical foam tray. Purchasers can also use Murray’s Farm Source Verification code on the outside of the package to find out more about the family and the farm where the soup chicken was raised. An industry leader in the compassionate treatment of animals, Murray’s proudly carries the prestigious Certified Humane label awarded by Humane Farm Animal Care. Its family-farmed chickens are fed an all-vegetable diet with no animal by products. No antibiotics, growth hormones or preservatives are administered.

Source: Murray’s Chicken

U.S. Foodservice-Atlanta trucks to use biodiesel

U.S. Foodservice-Atlanta has become the first major foodservice distributor in Georgia to run its entire delivery fleet on biodiesel fuel. All of the Atlanta division's 185 tractors and 210 trailers began using biodiesel fuel last week following its first 7,500-gallon delivery of B5, a blend of diesel containing 5 percent biodiesel, a form of diesel fuel made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. Biodiesel is a sustainable, renewable alternative to diesel fuel which can dramatically reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions.

"Utilizing biodiesel is a continuation of our ongoing environmental strategy," said John Leake, president of U.S. Foodservice-Atlanta. "Improving our overall impact on the environment - while helping our customers find effective ways to do the same - not only makes good business sense, it's the right thing to do."

The biodiesel fuel costs on average about a penny more per gallon. Its use is expected to reduce the U.S. Foodservice-Atlanta fleet's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 788,000 pounds - or about 4 percent - annually. That's roughly the equivalent of taking 65 cars off the road or of planting more than 3,150 trees every year.

The biodiesel is locally sourced and refined, a product of S.A. White Oil Co. of Marietta. Atlanta is the third U.S. Foodservice division to use biodiesel in its fleet. It joins divisions in Streator, Ill., and Plymouth, Minn.

Source: U.S. Foodservice