Russia has set its import quote for U.S. poultry and pork products, both of which are significantly down from 2009 levels. The quota for poultry has been set at 600,000 tons, down from 750,000 tons in 2009. The quota for pork products has been reduced from 100,000 tons in 2009 to 57,500 tons in 2010, Reuters reports.

Russian imports for U.S. poultry has declined for the last two years, as the country has tried to become more self-sufficient. The country has also banned pork imports from several plants recently due to high levels of an antibiotic residue.

Source: Reuters

Townsends adds cooking system to North Carolina plant

Townsends Inc, has completed a major expansion of its Mocksville, N.C. further-processing operation with the installation of a new state-of-the-art high-capacity oven cooking system. Consisting of a CFS oven and belt grill, OMAR char marker plus cooler and storage freezer additions, the expansion significantly increases capacity of the facility for production of boneless and bone-in cooked product lines.

The plant expansion, supported by internal engineering and Cole Services, was completed on time and under budget. "The entire project from design through start-up was very well managed and completed with a minimum of disruption to existing operations," said Jim Harrison, plant manager.

"This new line is a platform for Townsends to continue growing a key strategic product category and allows us to better meet the needs of existing and future customers," said Chuck Dix, president.

Source: Townsends Inc.

Certified Angus Beef sets sales records

Certified Angus Beef LLC, despite a challenging global economy in fiscal 2009, achieved record sales for the third consecutive year. The Certified Angus Beef brand logged several divisional and monthly records along the way. Product sales from Oct. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, 2009 topped 663 million pounds. That eclipsed the previous fiscal 2008 record of 634 million pounds by 4.6%, and the fiscal 2007 record of 584 million pounds.

Monthly sales figures also reached new heights – 62 million pounds in August 2009. May, June, July and September 2009 also finished among the top 10 months in the brand’s 31-year history. Strong demand during grilling season buoyed monthly sales beyond the 60-million pound mark for the first time in July, August and September.

Consumers still prefer quality products in challenging times, becoming even more aware of the ratio of price to value, explained John Stika, CAB president.

“Arguably, this advanced our brand’s position,” Stika said. “The premium quality pays even greater dividends when consumers apply a higher level of discretion to where they spend their dollars.”

Representing more than half of CAB sales, the retail division had its best year ever with 343.5 million pounds sold. Retailers benefitted from consumers shifting their dining patterns to include more meals at home, the company said. Some retailers also expanded their premium beef offerings and boosted sales by introducing the brand’s extensions – Prime and Natural.

Foodservice partners recognized that the best strategy in an uncertain economy was to build their own brand on quality, said Mark Polzer, CAB vice president of business development. With restaurants seeing fewer customers, it’s even more important for them to provide memorable experiences to ensure repeat business, he said. The foodservice division’s 200 million pounds represented more than 30% of the brand’s sales. In spite of industry-wide declines in dining out, CAB gained a stronger market share in the last year, and is positioned for growth as restaurant traffic rebounds.

International sales grew to 69 million pounds, a 4% increase over the previous year and more than 10% of the company total. That level of sales, not seen since 2003, was attributed to the brand’s partners in Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

Source: Certified Angus Beef LLC

Denny's CMO, COO resign in management shuffle

Denny’s Corp. announced that the company has made several management changes. Two officers announced their resignations — Mark Chmiel, executive vice president and chief marketing and innovation officer and Janis Emplit, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Both resignations are effective prior to year end. Denny’s has launched a national executive search to fill the positions, both internal and external candidates will be considered. In the interim Chmiel’s and Emplit’s responsibilities will be allocated amongst the marketing and operations teams, respectively.

Nelson Marchioli, president and CEO of Denny’s stated, “While we have been making a number of meaningful improvements to our business including enhancing our profitability, reducing our debt and opening new stores, our comp store sales have been a challenge. As the external operating environment remains difficult and the industry increasingly competitive, it is necessary to ensure we have the leadership that can drive sales and the brand forward as it progresses in its transition to a primarily franchise-focused business model.”

Source: Denny’s Corp.

HBO movie on Temple Grandin stars Claire Danes

HBO Films’ Temple Grandin, debuting February 6, 2010, will detail the life of the author, animal scientist, Meat Industry Hall of Fame inductee and autism advocate. It will star Claire Danes in the title role and co-star Cathering O’Hara, Julia Ormond and David Strathairn. The film, directed by Mick Jackson from a screenplay by Christopher Monger, is based on two books,EmergenceandThinking in Pictures, which were authored or co-authored by Grandin.

The film documents Grandin’s struggles growing up at a time when autism was still unknown and shows the support she received from her family. Her understanding of animal behavior helped revolutionize animal-handling practices in the meat industry.

Source: HBO Films