Butterball LLC announced that its Carthage, Mo. facility was recognized by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (OSHA VPP) with the highest of safety ratings, VPP Star certification, representing the turkey producer’s implementation of a world-class worker safety program.
One of several OSHA cooperative programs, the VPP strives to recognize workplaces for their excellence in occupational health and safety and serves as the nation’s highest safety certification. This marks the second consecutive year the Carthage facility has received the esteemed honor.
“Receiving VPP Star status directly reflects our continued commitment to the highest of safety standards,” said Brian Rodgers, director of safety and risk management, Butterball. “Worker health and safety is a top priority for Butterball and we strive to integrate stringent safety processes in all day-to-day business practices.”
To celebrate the plant’s accomplishments, notable representatives from the local Chamber of Commerce and Fire Department joined Butterball executives for the award presentation at the Carthage facility. During the event, guests endured a catered lunch and significant speeches in addition to a presentation of the VPP Star certification by Elizabeth Morales, regional compliance specialist at OSHA. 
Currently, Butterball is one of only two turkey producers in the United States to achieve VPP Star status. Five of the company’s seven plants have been recognized by OSHA’s VPP for continuously implementing practices that lower injury occurrences and encourage high levels of employee participation at success rates significantly higher than industry averages.
Source: Butterball LLC
Bob Evans renovating historic farm, first restaurant
Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced its contracting partners on a $3+ million project to restore, renovate and refresh its company-owned Farm and historic first restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. Work on phase one of the Bob Evans Farm renovation project will begin in March.
“The Bob Evans Farm is an important brand beacon,” says Farm Manager Ray McKinniss. “It’s pictured on our menus, in our advertising and on our food products packaging. It’s the inspiration for so much of what we do. Fans of Bob Evans love to enjoy lunch at the first restaurant, visit our Homestead Museum and explore all the Farm has to offer. Investing in its future is an investment in the entire brand.”
Each year in the fall, tens of thousands of visitors visit to the Farm to celebrate the Bob Evans Farm Festival. Guests enjoy entertainment, arts and crafts, farm contests, food, children’s activities and demonstrations. The Farm also offers year-round attractions like hiking, camping, horseback riding, a museum dedicated to the history of the brand and more.
The announcement of the Farm renovation comes on the heels of the Bob Evans Farms’ February 7 announcement that it will complete renovation of its entire 30-restaurant Dayton, Ohio, market in April. The renovation project is an investment in the brand – and in the State of Ohio.
“Our new ‘Taste of the Farm’ retail concept, Farm-Fresh Refresh project in Dayton and new menu items like our Big Farm Burgers were inspired by the Farm and our founder’s belie in the importance of local agriculture and freshly made, homestyle food,” says Randy Hicks, president and chief concept officer of Bob Evans Restaurants. “It’s exciting to be able to reinvest in the birthplace of the brand.”
The first phase of the Farm renovation project will include:
•The renovation of an existing barn to a flexible space that can host receptions, meetings and other events – all with the option of delicious Bob Evans catering.
•Visitors will enjoy an enhanced entry to the Homestead museum featuring organic gardens and other beautification elements.
•Work will begin to create a new music amphitheatre for future concerts and performances.
•The historic Adamsville log cabin village will be relocated closer to the Homestead so more visitors are able to enjoy them.
•The Farm Festival field will be graded and improved to prevent flooding, improve accessibility and overall experience.
•The first Bob Evans restaurant, also located on the property, is also scheduled for a remodel in 2011. 
The Farm renovation project is expected to be completed in late summer, before the 41st annual Bob Evans Farms Festival October 14 – 16, 2011.
Source: Bob Evans Farms Inc.
Wendy’s relaunches in Japan
After exiting the country in 2009, Wendy’s has announced that it will be re-entering the market later this year. The first restaurant will open in Tokyo and will feature Wendy’s well-known items, as well as premium sandwiches and hamburgers with gourmet toppings served in a “contemporary atmosphere.”
In 2009, the fast-food outlet shuttered all 71 restaurants in the country after terminating a deal with franchisee Zensho Co. Ltd., reports The Independent. At the time, the company stated the absence was likely to be short-lived and that it was looking for new joint ventures.
Wendy’s Arby’s Group has partnered with Higa Industries Co. Ltd., a food importer and distributor based in Tokyo. It will oversee the company’s restaurant development and operations in Japan.
Source: The Independent
Premium, natural descriptors resonate with consumers of beef and pork menu items: report
Nearly two out of three consumers recently surveyed by Technomic say they think beef and pork products labeled or menued with premium descriptors such as grass-fed, lean, organic or natural will taste better than other beef and pork products that do not carry these same labels. Terms describing premium types and cuts of meat had a strong influence on perception of flavor and price thresholds, while terms describing natural farming and preparation were likely to influence consumers’ perception of healthfulness.
 “Consumers have gained familiarity in the retail sector with descriptions of beef and pork products denoting them as premium,” says Technomic EVP Darren Tristano. “Now as they visit restaurants, they are carrying those experiences with them and seeking out quality cuts, breeds, and preparation through descriptors on the menu.”
To help food industry professionals stay abreast of how the current issues and evolving consumer need-states impact the beef and pork categories, Technomic has developed the Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report.
Findings include:
* Among consumers who do not eat meat regularly, health is the number one deterrent. Interestingly, many consumers feel that lean and extra lean cuts of meat actually taste better while also being healthier.
* New menu trends on the horizon for beef and pork include Asian and Caribbean culinary influences, as well as upscale positioning for urban barbecue concepts.
* Consumers crave more variety from the pork offerings at restaurants and indicate that they would order pork dishes more often if these needs were satisfied.
Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive analysis of beef and pork menu and consumer trends based on the attitudes and preferences of more than 1,500 consumers and detailed menu and flavor data culled from Technomic’s exclusive MenuMonitor trend tracking tool. Additionally, consumer data from the 2008 edition of the report is included, where relevant, to provide year-over-year comparisons and added insight into the beef and pork categories.
To purchase or learn more about this report, go to www.technomic.com.
Source: Technomic