PMMI, the producer and owner of PACK EXPO, and the American Meat Institute (AMI), sponsor and producer of the AMI International Meat, Poultry and Seafood Industry Convention and Exposition, announce that they have launched a survey about packaging in the meat industry in an effort to identify ways to increase the packaging recovery rate.

“This is the first time major industry associations have come together to survey the meat industry supply chain about various types of packing. Our goal is to provide paths forward that will eventually lead to an increase in the recovery rate for meat industry packaging,” says PMMI President & CEO Charles D. Yuska.

The survey’s results will be compiled and will form the basis for a new strategic document that will be released in 2011.Through the effort, packaging issues will be prioritized based on practicality and their potential for positive impact on the environment.

“This effort is part of AMI’s ongoing sustainability initiative,” according to AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “We are seeking ways to optimize packaging to reduce its impact on the environment. The survey’s findings will help identify options for increasing packaging recovery rates while continuing to provide high quality meat and poultry products packaged in ways that satisfy our customers.”

“It’s significant that we are collaborating because it can translate into great things for both organizations — and the industries we all serve,” Yuska says. “At the end of the day, this study will examine how packaging materials can be optimized, reused and recovered.”

This initiative is the first major undertaking by AMI and PMMI since June, when they announced their strategic partnership.

Source: AMI

JBS plant, neighborhood association agree to cancel hearing

It'll be business as usual at JBS Swift and Company - at least for the near future. The company’s Louisville, Ky., pork packing plant reached an agreement with the Butchertown Neighborhood Association to cancel a hearing scheduled on Nov. 15 concerning the plant's future, reports WAVE News. They also postponed the Nov. 1 deadline to gather information for the Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Butchertown neighbors are fighting to hold the plant accountable for a conditional use permit when it expanded without approval. In November of 2009, the zoning board voted not to revoke Swift's conditional use permit, allowing the plant to remain open.

Source: WAVE

North Dakota Natural Beef working with unpaid cattle producers

Weeks after losing a large customer and cutting hours, North Dakota Natural Beef is working with beef producers that are two to three weeks late in receiving payments, reportsAG Week. Those producers have been advised to fill out paperwork to make sure they are eligible for compensation under federal Packers and Stockyards Administration riles.

Doug Goehring, North Dakota agriculture commissioner, says the beef company has assured his department that it is “expediting this process” and that there is enough inventory and receivables to cover these payments. “We are not quite sure why they haven’t yet,” Goehring says.

Dieter Pape, president and chief executive officer of the Fargo-based beef processing company, says the current down is because of his company “resigning” this large customer, which was added in the second quarter of 2010. He adds that he expects to replace the lost customer soon, probably with an even larger customer.

“We got to the point where the increases in our price of cattle couldn’t be passed on,” Pape says. Further, the company, which he declines to name, instituted a new “audit” program that would require a $200,000 up-front investment by the beef company.

“That would have depleted margins,” Pape said. “We made a decision internally that you can’t do business with a company when you can’t make money.”

Source: AG Week

Cracker Barrel makes management changes

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. and its Board of Directors announced the realignment of the company’s leadership to build on Cracker Barrel’s recent successes and to position the company for sustained profitable growth. Sandra B. Cochran, who had served as executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been named president and chief operating officer. She assumes responsibility for restaurant and retail operations, retail merchandising, real estate, and the functions that will be led by the newly created role of chief people officer.

Douglas E. Barber, who had served as executive vice president and chief operating officer, has been named executive vice president and chief people officer, reporting to Cochran. He will lead human resources, diversity and outreach, training, and innovation.

Nicholas V. Flanagan has been promoted to senior vice president of restaurant operations and will also report to Cochran. The company has started a search for a new chief financial officer; senior vice president and chief legal officer N.B. Forrest Shoaf will serve as interim chief financial officer.

“Cracker Barrel is a strong organization with solid leadership,” said Michael A. Woodhouse, chairman and CEO. “Over the past few years, we have produced exceptional results, both operational and financial, during some of the toughest economic times that any of us have known. The players and the roles may evolve from time to time as part of a deliberate process for sustained success, but I am pleased that we have the depth to continue to pursue a clear strategic direction that is built on providing the great Cracker Barrel guest experience.”

In discussing Cochran’s new role with the organization, Woodhouse noted that she has been highly successful in her role as CFO and has earned respect both on Wall Street and within the company. He added, “In addition to her financial leadership, Sandy has also invested her energy in learning all aspects of our business and industry. She has valuable experience leading an entire organization from her time as CEO of Books-A-Million before coming to Cracker Barrel, and she will provide strong leadership and sound judgment in directing our operations. She knows that guest trust is vital and she will ensure that we continue to focus on the guest experience to grow restaurant traffic and retail sales.”

Woodhouse said of Barber, “Doug is a talented and experienced operator who is uniquely positioned to guide our efforts to establish Cracker Barrel as an industry leader in attracting, training, developing and retaining excellent managers and employees. He brings an operations perspective to the people needs of the business together with a passionate belief that everyone should have the opportunity to fully realize their potential.”

Regarding Flanagan, Woodhouse pointed to his years of experience in restaurant operations with Cracker Barrel, as well as other concepts and said, “Nick is a talented, dedicated operator who has led the noticeable improvements in our execution over the past two years with the rollout of our ‘Weekend Execution’ and ‘Seat-to-Eat’ initiatives.”

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.