Hormel's third quarter results yielded $77.2 million, up 49 percent from earnings of $51.9 million a year earlier. Sales totaled $1.6 billion, which was down 6 percent from fiscal 2008. For the nine months ending July 26, 2009, net earnings were $238.9 million, or $1.76 per diluted share, up from $1.58 a year earlier. Sales totaled $4.9 billion, which is even with last year.

“We are pleased to report improved operating segment results for the quarter. Our Refrigerated Foods segment rebounded to post higher earnings on an enhanced sales mix and lower costs, despite weak cutout margins during much of the quarter. Our Jennie-O Turkey Store segment also showed continued improvement in the quarter,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO. “Our Grocery Products segment had another solid quarter, as increased sales of canned items more than offset the impact of discontinued sales of olive oil and soft sales of microwave products. Our Specialty Foods and All Other segments had weaker results.

“Sales and volumes were down overall, as we made intentional reductions to our turkey production and the effects of the economy took their toll on certain portions of the business,” Ettinger commented.

Of Hormel's operating segments, Grocery Products has an operating profit increase of 11 percent, Refrigerated Foods were up 60 percent and Jennie-O Turkey Store improved operating profits by 97 percent. Specialty Foods were down 2 percent, and All Other, which includes Hormel Foods International, dropped by 19 percent.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

Church's Chicken acquires 23 Mrs. Winner's restaurants

Church's Chicken is moving into middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky by acquiring 23 Mrs. Winner's restaurants and converting them into Church's restaurants. Church's has more than 1,650 restaurants worldwide. The company was recently acquired by Friedman Fleischer & Lowe LLC, a private equity firm.

“Our team has always admired this region’s passion for chicken and community-minded culture, and that makes it an ideal area for Church’s Chicken. We’ve been on the lookout for an opportunity to expand boldly in the Greater Nashville area, and we’re delighted that the day is finally here,” Jim Parrish, chief operating officer of Church’s Chicken, said.

Source: Nashville Business Journal.

PETA anti-meat ad criticized for being cruel

A new billboard ad from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that equated meat-eating with obesity backfired, as critics said that its depiction of an obese women was cruel and tasteless.

The billboard, located in the beach town of Jacksonville, Fla., depicts an obese woman in a bikini, with the phrases “Save the Whales” and “Lose the Blubber. Go Vegetarian.” next to her. The Florida Times-Union reports that blogs and Web sites have been abuzz ever since, calling it demeaning and sexist to compare an obese woman to an animal.

“PETA’s ad is meant to feed off the insecurities of the body-conscious in order to promote meatless eating, regardless of the humiliation it may cause,” David Martosko, director of research at the Center for Consumer Freedom, said in a statement. “The group has consistently promoted a message of animal ‘rights’ with total disregard to the human cruelty it causes. To equate any person (regardless of size) with a whale, or any other animal, is mean-spirited, cruel, and ugly.”

PETA spokesman Virginia Fort defended the billboard, calling it empowering for women. “All consumers can take something from this. It’s a message everyone can relate to; many people in this country struggle with weight issues,” Fort said.

Source: Florida Times-Union