Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from its current South High Street location in Columbus to a newly built corporate campus in the Village of New Albany, Ohio, with an anticipated completion in 2013.

"We're pleased to announce our plans to remain in Central Ohio. We have been a major part of the Ohio economy for decades, employing nearly 14,000 Ohioans, and contributing more than $1 million annually to philanthropic community-based efforts across the state," says Chairman and CEO of Bob Evans Farms Inc. Steve Davis. "Ohio is where our company was founded – it's the site of our roots and our brand heritage – and we're committed to growing our company here."

The Village of New Albany was selected as the location of the new campus due to its abundance of available land, robust infrastructure, ease of development, convenient location near I270 and proximity to the airport. The new campus is in the area of State Route 161 and Beech Road.

"We are also pleased to announce plans to move to a new corporate campus – one that represents our multiple brands, and supports our plan to innovate, expand and grow the business in the State of Ohio," says Davis. "The decision is the product of an unprecedented partnership between Bob Evans Farms, the State of Ohio and the Village of New Albany."

"We have had great partners in The Ohio Department of Development. They have worked hard to deliver incentives that make Ohio the best option for our business," continues Davis. "Ohio was very competitive economically with the other options we considered."

Close to 400 employees are located on the South High Street campus, and the company's plans for growth and expansion require different types of flexible spaces and room for additional headcount. In addition, the company reports that re-developing the current campus for its needs was less cost-effective than the other options.

Bob Evans Farms carefully weighed a number of options before settling on the New Albany location, from remodeling its existing location, to moving into an existing space in the city of Columbus or other suburban locations. The company owns property and operates campus locations and other facilities in Texas and considered relocating the headquarters there in an effort to exhaust all options. Over the last four years, the company has been increasing the number of support professionals working at its current location and is stretching the limitations of its current South High Street facilities.

"The Village of New Albany also has a robust and compelling long-term plan for the community," says Davis. "The Bob Evans Farms brand is a great fit with its verdant, vibrant, family-friendly community and it has been an excellent partner throughout the process."

"New Albany has implemented a strategic vision for the community through private and public sector partnerships," says New Albany Mayor Nancy Ferguson. "We are proud to welcome Bob Evans – a company that shares similar values and commitments – as our newest corporate partner."

The company also expressed gratitude to the State of Ohio and the City of Columbus for helping develop packages and programs to keep the company's current location a thriving center of business activity.

"We have been a vital part of the Central Ohio community since 1968, when we relocated from Gallipolis in Southeast Ohio. We have other tenants on our current campus who may want to grow and expand here," explains Davis. "I am confident that the base of jobs on the South High Street campus can continue to grow. We look forward to partnering with the City of Columbus and State of Ohio to make this a reality."

The campus plan announcement comes on the heels of Bob Evans Farms' announcements of the renovation of its entire 30-restaurant Dayton, Ohio, market and the more than $3 million renovation of the original Bob Evans Farm and first restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. The work is part of a campaign the company is calling "BEST to Invest in Ohio" – which characterizes the company's commitment to the economic success of the state.

Bob Evans Farms is a major economic presence in the state of Ohio with 194 Bob Evans restaurants, three Mimi's Cafe restaurants, two food products production plants, a distribution center, fleet maintenance centers, and the company's Farm and Homestead. The company generates nearly $36 million in tax revenue each year in the State of Ohio.

"Bob Evans Farms is a part of the fabric of Ohio," says Mark D. Kvamme, director of the Ohio Department of Development. "We worked hard to keep the company's headquarters in the state, and we fully expect Bob Evans Farms will continue to grow and thrive here."

The company reiterated its commitment to the health of Columbus' South High Street corridor and has been working to ensure the continued use its current campus location, making sure it is an attractive site for future development.

"We look forward to partnering with the State of Ohio and the City of Columbus to help ensure that viable tenants take over the nearly 38 acres of campus space," says Davis.

The company says the new corporate headquarters will include a number of features to nurture a culture of innovation and collaboration for employees, including an innovation center for restaurant and food products teams as well as wellness, security and convenience features for employees. Detailed plans for the new campus are in progress and are contingent upon the negotiation and execution of mutually acceptable contracts related to the site, construction and tax incentives.

"We are excited about this new chapter in our company's history," says Davis. "Thanks to our partners in Ohio and in New Albany, we're looking for Bob Evans Farms to thrive and be a meaningful part of the Central Ohio community for many years to come."

Source: Bob Evans Farms Inc.


High pork demand boosts Smithfield profits

Smithfield Foods Inc. said that smaller pork supplies and strong exports should help to offset higher feed costs for its hogs and drive profits going forward. The company’s shares reached a 2.5-year high following better-than-expected third-quarter results.

"We have supplies and demand in very good balance at this point," CEO C. Larry Pope told Wall Street analysts on a conference call, reports Reuters. "I don't see anyone out there looking to build a big (pork) plant over the near term. I don't see any expansion of any magnitude in the live production side."

For the third quarter ended January 30, the company earned $202.6 million, or $1.21 a share, compared with $37.3 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the profit was 84 cents a share, far above the 69 cents analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $3.19 billion, topping the $3.16 billion analysts had expected. The company credited higher average unit selling prices in the pork segment and higher live hog market prices for most of the increase. The pork unit earned $254.8 million during the quarter, up 67 percent from a year earlier.

Pope did warn that consumers can expect to pay more for pork this year as higher production costs are passed on. He added that profit margins remain good through February and March, but higher prices could slow sales.

"I would not be at all surprised if there was a minor drop in volume as consumers react to something cheaper. They could rotate to chicken," said Pope.

Source: Reuters


American Meat Institute unveils safe equipment design checklist

The American Institute unveiled a Safe Equipment Design Checklist aimed at ensuring that equipment used in meat and poultry plants is designed in compliance with key standards and minimizes hazards and injuries. Developed by a special subcommittee of AMI’s Worker Safety Committee, the Checklist was unveiled at the Worker Safety, Human Resources and the Environment Conference, held this week in Kansas City.

The Checklist is the third of its kind that has been released by AMI. The Equipment Design Checklist and Facility Design Checklist also have been extremely useful in ensuring that equipment and facilities factor food safety into their designs. This latest checklist is a natural extension of the concept into the critically important field of worker safety.

Using the checklist will help ensure compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) rules and with relevant consensus standards like those published by the National Fire Protection Association, American National Standards Institute, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and others.

The checklist aims to foster design with a focus on preventing injuries and creating equipment that is worker friendly. It covers 10 key principles of safe equipment design:  equipment guarding; design and engineering; energy control; ergonomics; training; ingress/egress; hazard communication; confined spaces and hazardous locations; fall protection; and process safety management. The document may be downloaded as an Excel file from or, Aim’s dedicated worker safety website.

“Our long-term goal is to eliminate hazards before they are created,” said AMI Worker Safety Committee Chairman Travis Ellis, corporate director of environmental, health & safety at Land-O-Frost Inc. “This checklist is an important compilation of strategies from some of the best minds in worker safety and I am confident that they will be meaningful and applicable for meat and poultry companies.”

Ellis also noted that the document is intended to be a “living document.” “Ensuring workplace safety is a continual effort that requires continuous improvement,” Ellis said. “The release of this checklist is a start and we aim to improve it over time based upon new information and user feedback.”

In addition to Ellis, the Worker Safety Equipment Design Subcommittee included Joe Allen, president & CEO of Allen Safety; John Campbell, corporate safety, health & environment manager at Boar’s Head Provision Company; Bob Christiansen, corporate manager of safety and security at  Hormel Foods Corporation; Rick Clayton, regional safety manager at Cargill Meat Solutions; Dan McCausland, director of worker safety at AMI; Paul Rutledge, environmental health, safety and security director at Johnsonville Sausage; John Tignor, corporate director of health, safety and security at Smithfield; and Tom Young, corporate safety director at John Morrell & Co.

AMI’s Supplier Committee, which includes member companies who manufacture equipment, also reviewed the document and provided feedback to the subcommittee. 

Source: AMI


White Castle celebrates 90th anniversary

In 1921, Edgar W. "Billy" Ingram opened the first White Castle restaurant in Wichita, Kan. On March 10, White Castle, America's first fast-food chain, celebrates its 90th birthday, kicking off a year of celebrations with special events and promotions..

"White Castle is proud to be 90 years young," said Jamie Richardson, vice president of corporate and government relations. "Since 1921, White Castle has remained true to its original mission and values. Our name says it all — White signifying purity and Castle signifying strength and permanence."

White Castle stands out from other fast-food chains for many reasons. It's a family-owned business that does not franchise, and inspires loyalty among team members and customers. It also developed its own meat production facilities and bakeries to ensure quality control, setting a new standard for the restaurant industry.

Richardson added that celebrating 90 years is quite an accomplishment in the quick service restaurant industry as many chains have come and gone in almost a century.

"As a company that essentially changed American eating patterns in the 20th century by introducing fast-food carryout meals, the White Castle brand has provided cherished moments in many American's lives, whether they're loyal Cravers or one of our dedicated team members," he said.

In addition to being America's first family-owned hamburger chain, White Castle has experienced many firsts in its 90 years. White Castle is the one and only fast-food chain to create and patent the five-hole, 100-percent USDA-approved beef Original Slider patty, sponsor National Hamburger Month, use cardboard cartons for burger packaging and sell frozen microwavable Original Sliders in major U.S. grocers.

Source: White Castle System Inc.


National Poultry & Food Distributors Association announces awards, board members

The National Poultry & Food Distributors Association has announced its 2010-2011 board of directors. Chris Sharp of Kelly’s Foods has been named president, Al Acunto of Preferred Freezer Services as vice president, Marc Miro of Global Food Innovations as treasurer, and Walter Cooper of Claxton Poultry Farms as Immediate Past President.

The board members for the year include Paris Ball Miller of Troyer Foods Inc.; Mikell Fries of Claxton Poultry; Andrew Hays of Pilgrim’s Pride; David Hopkins of Plymouth Poultry; Bryan Imler of Imler’s Poultry; Vince Mennella of Mennella’s Poultry Co.; Jon Poole of Eastern Poultry Distributors; Lori Prescott of Peco Foods; Dan Purnell of R & D Marketing; Ted Rueger of Eastern Poultry; Dan Sloan of Greenville Meats; Bob Thrash of Process Management Consulting; and Lee Wilson of Pilgrim’s Pride.

The group also awarded the Poultry Industry Lifetime Achievement Award, given each year to a poultry industry leader that has played a major role in the growth of the poultry industry. NPFDA awarded it to Tom Rueger of Easter Poultry Distributors. Eastern Poultry Distributors Inc. was founded by his father, John, in 1954. Under Rueger’s leadership, Eastern has continued its consistent growth. The average tenure of Eastern’s 18 salesmen and women is greater than 15 years. Today, Eastern sells beef, pork, seafood and other products throughout the United States and abroad.

The 2010 NPFDA Member of the Year was named Al Acunto of Preferred Freezer Services. He has been with the company since 2005, and the Associstion noted that, “His blended experience in logistics, food service and sales has served him well with Preferred as he has developed a wide range of warehousing and logistics solutions to clients from the international meat, seafood, finished good and poultry markets.”

Source: NPFDA