JBS SA has told Sara Lee Corp. that it plans to make a takeover offer of $21 a share, accourding to two sources, reports Bloomberg News. That offer would would value Sara Lee at $13.4 billion and is 14 percent higher than the company’s closing price yesterday of $18.36 a share. Blackstone Group LP is working with Sao Paulo-based JBS on a bid and would be interested in taking over Sara Lee’s coffee business, said other sources.

An offer would pit JBS against Apollo Global Management LLC, Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital. The private-equity firms’ bid was close to the $20 a share that Sara Lee’s board is seeking, a person with knowledge of the matter said Jan. 23. The board plans to meet this week to review the bids and to consider spinning off the company’s coffee business as an alternative to a sale, the person said.

Spokesmen for JBS and Sara Lee declined to comment.

Source: Bloomberg

Taco Bell defends beef filling, plans legal action

Taco Bell officials rejected claims made in a lawsuit that the meat in their tacos, burritos and other products is not all beef. Taco Bell President Greg Creed said in a statement that the lawyers who filed the lawsuit got their facts wrong and that Taco Bell plans to take legal action against those making the allegations, according to AP reports. He did not explain specifically what type of legal action Taco Bell might take.

"At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket," Creed said. "We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture."

The class action lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in California by the Montgomery law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles claims the Taco Bell meat mixture contains binders and fillers, giving the company a competitive edge against other companies that sell Mexican food. An attorney for the law firm, Dee Miles, said that he was not concerned about Taco Bell’s threat of a lawsuit.

"We stand on the absolute facts as stated in the complaint filed in the Federal Court in California," he said.

Source: Associated Press

Kayem Foods, Tampa Bay Lightning sign deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Kayem Foods Inc. announced a new multi-year sponsorship and licensing agreement to manufacture and distribute Kayem Franks & Sausages at Lightning games, and make Kayem the Official Brand of Franks and Sausages of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum.

As part of the agreement, Kayem has introduced new and improved products at Tampa Bay Lightning home games, including the Kayem Beef Hot Dog, Kayem Beef Kids Dog and Kayem Italian Sausage. Kayem Hot Dogs at the St. Pete Times Forum feature Kayem's special all-beef recipe, offering a unique blend of spices for a distinct bolder flavor with no fillers and are MSG and gluten free.

Kayem's partnership with the Lightning follows last April's partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team to make Kayem the Official Hot Dog and Sausage of the Tampa Bay Rays and Tropicana Field. In September, Kayem was also recently named the official hot dog and sausage of the Florida State Seminoles. "We are thrilled to have partnerships with both of Tampa's professional sports teams, and for the opportunity to deliver top-quality, delicious franks and sausages that enhance the fan experience for millions of hot dog enthusiasts throughout Florida, all year long," said Bob Kufferman, Kayem senior brand manager. "Our partnership with the Lightning reinforces Kayem as the brand that offers Florida sports fans and hot dog lovers truly great tasting franks that get high marks for quality and freshness."

"The Lightning are thrilled to partner with Kayem, one of the country's most established and successful hot dog manufacturers, to introduce Kayem Beef Hot Dogs and Sausages at our games," said Bob Rossi, corporate marketing manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Over the past year, we have focused on upgrades to make the St. Pete Times Forum a world-class home for our team and a better place for fans to enjoy Bolts hockey. Offering Kayem's quality products is yet one more way we can exceed our fans' expectations and deliver the best possible game experience."

Source: Kayem Foods Inc.

Bob Evans names new CFO

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. announced the addition of Paul F. DeSantis to its executive management team. DeSantis, 46, will assume the position of chief financial officer, treasurer and assistant corporate secretary, effective March 7. In this role, DeSantis will oversee the financial reporting, investor relations and corporate finance functions.

DeSantis comes to Bob Evans from A. Schulman Inc., where he has served as chief financial officer and treasurer of the company since April 2006. He joined Schulman as vice president of finance in January 2006. Prior to that time, DeSantis was with Scott's Miracle-Gro, where he had served as vice president and corporate treasurer since 2003. From 1997 to 2003, he held various financial roles at Scott's Miracle-Gro. DeSantis also spent four years in accounting and financial positions at The Kellogg Co., the world's largest producer of cereals and other convenience foods.

Richard Green, who has served as the company's interim CFO since Jan. 3, will continue in his existing role as chief risk and compliance officer.

"We are thrilled to have someone with Paul's wealth of financial expertise join Bob Evans Farms," Bob Evans Chairman and CEO Steve Davis said. "His experience in financial reporting, strategic planning, treasury, tax and compliance, among others, will make him an essential component of our executive staff. We look forward to welcoming him to our team in March. We also thank Dick Green for his leadership during the interim period."

Source: Bob Evans Farms Inc.

GMA establishes new Industry Affairs and Collaboration Division

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has created an Industry Affairs and Collaboration Division, following a restructuring process aimed at enhancing member services and organizational efficiencies. The new division takes the place of three former GMA departments: Industry Affairs, Membership Services and Meetings, with the staff of each group assigned to new roles under the Industry Affairs and Collaboration banner.

“GMA is always looking for innovative ways to provide industry leadership and enhance the value of GMA membership for food and consumer products companies,” said Denny Belcastro, executive vice president, industry affairs and collaboration. “This new division will allow us to do just that by realigning our capabilities to create more efficient work streams that will improve engagement opportunities and comprehensive services for our members.”

The Industry Affairs and Collaboration Division will continue to support GMA’s strategic areas of focus on product safety, health and nutrition, environmental sustainability, and global commerce, with a special emphasis on facilitating industry collaboration and efficiency on these and other matters. The group will also work cross-functionally to identify and execute opportunities for business development and to provide first-rate service to the GMA membership.

The new division’s leadership team is comprised of the following individuals and roles:
•        Todd Turner, vice president, operational effectiveness, with responsibility for all elements of planning, project management, administration, and delivery of GMA events and activities.
•        Brian Lynch, promoted to senior director, business and industry development, with responsibility for developing new business opportunities, including but not limited to: membership recruitment, development of leadership programs, sponsorships and educational forums.
•        Logan Kastner, promoted to director, member relations and services, with responsibility for member services and engagement opportunities (including joint industry conferences) aimed at optimizing member satisfaction and the GMA value proposition.

“I am pleased to have Todd, Brian and Logan on the new Industry Affairs and Collaboration leadership team,” continued Belcastro. “Each of them possesses tremendous energy and valuable experience that will allow them to excel in their new roles.”

Source: GMA

Seafood show returns to Boston this March

The annual International Boston Seafood Show (IBSS) and Seafood Processing America (SPA) again come together as the country’s premiere seafood event. Held March 20-22, 2011 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the show will feature something new for every taste, while remaining the one-stop business opportunity designed to meet every seafood and processing need.

North America’s must-attend event for seafood industry professionals, the event is a premier seafood event where exhibitors and attendees annually gather to launch and source new products and identify niche markets.

“This show is an international platform where the seafood industry comes together to network, identify trends and learn about the latest in seafood technology and products,” said Mary Larkin, vice president, Seafood Expositions. “Keeping the show fresh and engaging is always our main priority and the key to its success.”

Since 1982, The International Boston Seafood Show has attracted thousands of seafood professionals from more than 130 countries, making it the largest annual seafood show in the United States. Attendees include buyers from leading restaurants, hotels, resorts, institutions, seafood markets and supermarkets, as well as distributors/wholesalers, processors, importers, exporters, brokers and traders. The show features approximately 870 exhibitors in more than 1,700 booths representing all facets of the seafood industry including fresh, frozen, live, value-added, branded and private label, as well as processing equipment and services ranging from machinery to refrigeration.

For additional information regarding the 2011 International Boston Seafood Show/Seafood Processing America, visit www.bostonseafood.com.

Source: Boston Seafood Show