Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 11 In The Food Industry

Making Flexible Scheduling Work
Emily Schmitt, 04.07.10, 06:00 PM EDT
When employees strike a healthy work-life balance, everyone benefits.

Tammy Hunter was obsessed with her handheld device. It got so bad that her children would bring it to her whenever it lit up, because they knew she wouldn't want to miss any important call about work. She faced a very familiar challenge: How could she ever feel fully involved in her job and fully relaxed at home?
Hunter struck that balance by taking advantage of certain policies at her company. She's a tax partner at KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory firm in Atlanta. In the summer, her work day ends at 3 p.m. on Fridays. She volunteers in her community with the help of a program that gives her 12 hours of paid time per year to do so. And she uses a buddy system to ensure her work is completed when she takes a vacation. But the program that has done the most for her ability to strike a work-life balance is flexible scheduling.
Flexible scheduling allows employees to adjust the time or place their work is completed. It can mean compressing 40 hours into four days, starting and ending workdays at different times, or doing some of your work at home. The reason may be as simple as wanting to better manage a long commute. Some parents choose to arrive at work later so they can take their children to school. Some companies may offer these options to retain female employees who might consider leaving their jobs after having children.
So far, the program has been so popular at KPMG that an estimated 50% of its employees take part. But there's more to it than just announcing policies --Hunter insists the approach must be top-down, with managers actively supporting participation. She not only maintains a flexible schedule but encourages her employees to follow her lead.
"I struggled when I thought I could be great only if I was at home 100% of the time or at work," she says. "Now that I have a balance, I feel like I spend enough time at home and enough time at work." She has three children.

Companies are finding that flextime boosts productivity, and more and more of them, including Kraft Foods ( KFT - news - people ), Texas Instruments ( TXN - news - people ) and First Tennessee Bank, are taking advantage of it. When employees manage their own schedules, their stress levels decline and they focus better on their tasks. According to a recent study by Georgetown University, employee stress from trying to find time for their children correlates with decreased productivity and increased absenteeism. The study found that unplanned absences were costing some businesses nearly $1 million a year. Not everyone sees flexible scheduling as a win-win situation, though. David Lewis, chief executive of OperationsInc, a human resources consulting firm, says that it can create tension in the work environment and stigmatize those who take part in it. "It's the 'have and have-not' syndrome," he says. "Businesses try to implement it so that the right positions have flexible schedules, but other employees can view that as distrust that they can work outside of the home as well."
Lewis also warns that some employees may even be passed over for promotions if their adoption of a flexible schedule makes them appear to be less dedicated to their work. And it can be especially difficult to justify in the current economic environment.

Pat Katepoo, founder of, says that even though the risk of a negative stigma exists, it should be manageable. Once you've exhausted all your other options, she says, switching to a flexible schedule should certainly be better than losing your job.
Although some companies, like KPMG, have policies already in place, at others you'd have to propose the idea yourself. That may sound daunting, but Katepoo points out that thousands of people have done it successfully. She recommends that you try it only if you've been employed at the company for at least a year.
Create a detailed and comprehensive proposal that outlines exactly how you will ensure all your work gets done, and present the proposal in person. If it makes sense, it will help your company as much as it helps you, because, Katepoo says, your employer will be on the road to higher worker retention and productivity.
Tammy Hunter agrees. For her, it only makes sense that a more relaxed work environment would boost productivity. "When you enjoy your work environment and you aren't stressed out about getting other things done," she says, "you are more productive." she says.

This story was originally published March 16, 2009.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 10 In The Food Industry
UPDATE 2-Chiquita sees lower Q1 results, shares fall
Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:08pm EDT
Says Q1 hurt by weak banana demand, pricing
* Forms JV with Danone to market fruit beverages in Europe
* Says deal to immediately add to earnings
* Shares fall 3 pct after the bell (Recasts, adds details)
March 30 (Reuters) - Fresh fruit producer Chiquita Brands International Inc (CQB.N) expects to post "substantially lower" first-quarter results, hurt by weak European banana demand, sending its shares down 3 percent.
European banana volume fell 13 percent and pricing was about 11 percent lower in the first quarter compared with year-ago levels, the company said.
"European banana pricing was negatively impacted by the harshest winter weather in 30 years," Chief Executive Fernando Aguirre said in a statement.
Separately, Chiquita said it formed a joint venture with Danone (DANO.PA) to market fruit beverages in Europe -- a deal which it expects to help drive improvement in its results.
Chiquita will receive a one-time cash payment for a 51 percent interest in the venture with the world's largest yogurt maker, and expects the transaction to immediately add to earnings.
The company, which competes with Fresh Del Monte (FDP.N) and Dole Food Co Inc (DOLE.N), will license its "Just Fruit in a Bottle" beverage trademark to the venture.
The venture will be managed by Danone and headquartered in Paris as the exclusive distributor of Chiquita's "Just Fruit in a Bottle" beverage and all future Chiquita branded beverage products in Europe.
Chiquita's shares fell about 3 percent after the bell. They closed at $16.51 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Mihir Dalal in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 9 In The Food Industry

Dole Celebrates World Water Day by Introducing a Revolutionary Packing Process Which Reduces Water Use by Over 80%Press Release Source: Dole Food Company, Inc. On Monday March 22, 2010, 7:00 am EDT
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dole Food Company, Inc. announced today that Dole’s division Standard Fruit de Costa Rica has introduced a new system that will dramatically reduce the environmental impact of its banana harvesting and packing operations. The innovative process, called the New Millennium Packing System, specifically targets reducing the use of water by a factor of 10 and energy use by 50%, compared to a traditional packing plant.
“This new achievement demonstrates Dole’s commitment to address water use, one of the most crucial agricultural issues for the years to come. The concept has recently been extended to a Dole operation in Honduras and an additional farm in Costa Rica will begin with the New Millennium system by the end of the year,” said Roberto Vega, Dole’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager who represents Dole in the Water Footprint Network.
This new system is especially significant due to the fact that the banana packing process requires extensive water use, in particular for holding fruit prior to selection and providing a residence time for latex removal. In 2009, Standard Fruit de Costa Rica embarked on a complete redesign of its banana harvesting and packing process in order to substantially reduce water and energy use.
The renovation began with a holistic analysis of the flow of bananas from field to packing. The harvesting and product selection process were substantially revamped allowing many of the packing tasks to be done closer to the field. As a result, by the time the fruit reaches the packing location, approximately half the activities required to prepare the bananas for packing have already occurred. This dramatically reduces the need for water and energy.
“The total impact of this system, if implemented on a regional level, would allow the banana industry to save over sixty million cubic meters of water used in packing. As climate change affects water availability in the developing world, solutions such as our New Millennium Packing System have the potential to free enough water to provide for the needs of a population of over 30,000 people per year,” said Danilo Roman, General Manager, Standard Fruit de Costa Rica, and main sponsor of the program.
Hal Hamilton, Co-Director of the Sustainable Food Lab (, recently visited Dole’s banana plantation in Costa Rica during his organization’s annual summit last week. “There are two things that make this project quite unique. First of all, the development team includes people from all backgrounds from field workers to supervisors. Secondly, most innovation projects focus just on productivity. In this case, the search for beneficial environmental impacts such as water and electricity use is driving the innovation.”
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Week 8 In The Food Industry

The New TASSIMO T20 by Bosch Brings the Coffeehouse to You
Single Serve Home Brewing System Features Maximum Variety With More Value per Cup

The new TASSIMO T20 by Bosch makes it even more convenient for people to enjoy their favorite barista-quality beverages without leaving the comfort of home.

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - 03/15/10)
Whether it's a latte in the morning or an afternoon cup of tea, there may not always be time for a trip to the coffeehouse. The new TASSIMO T20 by Bosch makes it even more convenient for people to enjoy their favorite barista-quality beverages without leaving the comfort of home. With a slimmer design and price, the T20 expands the TASSIMO lineup to three brewer options, enabling individuals and families to enjoy the perfect cup of their favorite brewed beverage whenever and wherever they like.
"The T20 delivers coffee shop-quality beverages in about one minute per cup with virtually no heat-up time, so more people can enjoy their favorite flavors without having to brew an entire pot," said Michael Traub, president and CEO, Bosch home appliances. "The TASSIMO brewer's compact design is ideal for apartments, dorm rooms and countertops that have little space to spare."
The TASSIMO system utilizes patented T DISC technology to brew single cups of premium coffeehouse-quality beverages, including cappuccinos and lattes made with real milk creamer, espresso, crema, tea and hot chocolate -- with more flavors to come. To create an unprecedented level of variety and value, Bosch partnered with Kraft Foods to offer more than 40 hot beverage T DISC flavors from some of the industry's most popular brands.
The TASSIMO T20 by Bosch will be available March 30, 2010 at Target stores and for $129.99 with promotional pricing available.
Dole Inaugurates a Mobile Medical Unit to Attend Rural Communities in the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica

Mobile medical unit donated by Dole and Spar to the Lions Club in Costa Rica. (Photo: Business Wire). View Multimedia Gallery
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE - News) announced today that it inaugurated this week a mobile medical unit, which now offers some rural communities of the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica access to preventive medicine and specialized health attention.
This mobile medical unit consists of a container divided into 3 fully-equipped medical rooms, which provide patients with a wide range of medical services such as: general medicine, gastroscopy, ultrasound scan, ophthalmology, pediatrics, blood donation, osteoporosis analysis, vaccination campaigns and laboratory exams. The unit was donated to the Lions Club of Costa Rica, who is now responsible, with Dole’s support, for managing the unit, coordinating the medical staff’s planning and organizing health campaigns.
"Even though Costa Rica’s social security system is well developed and has local clinics in most of the communities of the Atlantic Zone, this mobile medical unit will be an additional tool to bring specialized medical services to remote areas, services that are mainly provided in urban areas. We expect this new unit to treat over 10,000 people per year," said Danilo Román, General Manager, Standard Fruit de Costa Rica.
This unit was co-funded by Dole and Spar, an Austrian supermarket chain, through an extra contribution made by consumers during a campaign run in Austria between February and May 2009.
"After the school was built in Ecuador in 2008 together with a Norwegian customer, this joint initiative with Spar further demonstrates the common interest of Dole and its customers in supporting the communities living in production areas. Dole will continue to develop similar partnerships whether in the social or environmental area," said Sylvain Cuperlier, Vice President, Director of Worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility for Dole.
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week 7 in the food industry

Triscuit and Urban Farming Pledge to Build 50 Community-Based Home Farms in 2010
Triscuit 'Home Farming Movement' Aims to Help People Grow and Harvest Their Own Food at Home and in Their Communities

EAST HANOVER, N.J., March 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Triscuit wants Americans to discover the simple joy of growing and sharing their own herbs and vegetables. Today the brand announced the launch of the Triscuit "Home Farming" movement and its collaboration with Urban Farming, a non-profit organization, to create 50 community-based home farms across the country in 2010.
Home Farming is about growing your own herbs and vegetables, no matter where you live. To help people on their path to Home Farming, four million packages of Original and Reduced-Fat Triscuit crackers will include cards with basil or dill herb seeds that can be planted directly into the ground. An interactive Web-based community,, helps to plant the seeds of success with tips from master gardener Paul James and information about how people can start their own home farm or volunteer at an Urban Farming location.
Americans Getting "Back to Simple"
A recent Triscuit survey found nearly two-thirds of Americans are interested in growing food in a backyard garden. And three out of four of those surveyed prefer to eat foods with a few, simple ingredients(1), reflecting a popular desire to get back to the simple joys in life.
"At Triscuit, simple authentic goodness is found on the farms, where the soft white wheat in Triscuit crackers is grown, and carried through to every cracker we make," said Jim Low, director of marketing for Triscuit at Kraft Foods. "That is why we're excited to invite Americans to join our 'Home Farming' movement, whether it's in a backyard, on a windowsill, or in a plot shared among neighbors. Everyone can get involved."
Triscuit Helping Home Farmers in the Community
Triscuit and Urban Farming will collaborate to create 50 community-based home farms across the U.S., launching with a groundbreaking ceremony in Los Angeles on March 11th at St. Stephen's and the Jubilee Consortium. Following the groundbreaking event, 49 additional farms will be planted from coast to coast in such cities as Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tampa, to name just a few. The farms will provide local residents and community groups with the opportunity to volunteer to maintain the farm and enjoy the local produce grown in their neighborhood. Led by Urban Farming Executive Director and Founder Taja Sevelle, these community-based home farms will bring much needed sustenance to deserving communities around the country.
"The mission of Urban Farming is to create an abundance of food on unused land and space and help uplift communities. Partnering with Triscuit to create the 'Home Farming' movement was a natural fit," said Ms. Sevelle. "By providing communities the opportunity to grow their own food, we're helping them get back to basics and enjoy something as simple as nurturing the vegetables and herbs they will eat from planting to harvest."
Triscuit Helping Home Farmers at Home
Two of the biggest obstacles people face in starting a home farm are time and space. In fact, over half of Americans (56%) who did not grow food last year said it was because of lack of time and/or space. "The Gardener Guy" Paul James has been enlisted to help people have a fun, easy and successful journey. James provides tips that appear on and will be on-site at select groundbreaking events to help educate families and individuals about growing and planting in home farms and community-based home farms.
"A lot goes into growing your own food at home, but Triscuit has made it easy to have a green thumb," said Paul James, Master Gardener and host of the HGTV show Gardening by the Yard. "With seed cards and instructions on Triscuit packages, families can get a little head start on how to plant and enjoy foods right in their own backyard or windowsill."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 6 in the Food Industry

Starbucks to soon begin Via sales in Japan, UK

On Wednesday March 3, 2010, 7:04 pm EST
By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (NasdaqGS:SBUX - News) said on Wednesday that its cafes in the United Kingdom and Japan will soon sell its Via instant coffee, which helped boost same-store sales at U.S. outlets in the latest quarter.
Via, which takes aim at established brands such Nestle SA's (VTX:NESN.VX - News) Nescafe and Kraft Foods Inc's (NYSE:KFT - News) Sanka, will begin being offered in the United Kingdom on March 8 and in Japan on April 14.
The product, which debuted six months ago in the United States and Canada, helped fuel higher fiscal first-quarter sales at U.S. Starbucks restaurants open at least 13 months.
While Via did help the company post its first quarterly rise in U.S. same-store sales in two years, executives said it would be "profit neutral for fiscal 2010" due to aggressive marketing spending to support its global launch.
Instant coffee is far more popular in markets outside the United States and investors will be watching to see whether Via can steal market share from established products in the United Kingdom and Japan.

Artisanal Premium Cheese Announces $2.5 Million Funding for Retail Store Roll-out
- Enhances Balance Sheet and Simplifies Capital Structure –

Press Release Source: Artisanal Premium Cheese On Thursday March 4, 2010, 9:33 am EST
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Home Food Products (OTCBB: AHFP - News), currently doing business as Artisanal Premium Cheese, today announced the closing of a $2.5 million financing. The terms of the financing include a three year senior loan with an interest rate of 8% to be paid quarterly, as well as 9.3 million shares of common stock.
As part of the conditions of the financing, the Company has agreed to the cessation of future preferred dividends with the goal of simplifying its capital structure and eliminating future dilution.
The company intends to use the financing to repay existing debt and obligations including the payoff of its $300,000 loan from Summit Financial. The balance of the capital will be used for working capital to execute the company’s retail roll-out.
Daniel W. Dowe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Artisanal commented, “Given the tight credit market, we are pleased to secure this capital at fair terms to shareholders. It will immediately impact our operating performance by lowering our inventory costs and increasing our overall inventory to best fulfill customer demand. We missed a lot of selling opportunities in our foodservice and online businesses in 2009 due to a shortage of inventory. This new funding will remedy this problem and help us execute on our retail store growth strategy with major retailers in the Northeast. Our expansion into the retail space is a natural extension of our presence in the highest segment of the restaurant and hotel industry, and provides our loyal customer base the opportunity to replicate fine dining experiences at home.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week 5 in the Food Industry

Kraft to invest $9 million, 50 jobs in Mo. city
Kraft says it will invest $9 million in 2 new lines, hire 50 new people in Sprinfield, Mo.

On Tuesday February 23, 2010, 5:30 pm EST
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce says Kraft Foods Inc. plans to invest $9 million in two new manufacturing lines in the Springfield area.
The company says the investment will bring 50 jobs to the area within the next six to nine months. The jobs will include wages higher than the county average and benefits.
The state has given a Kraft $390,000 tax credit for the investment and new jobs. The credit is part of the Missouri Department of Economic Development's Enhanced Enterprise Zone program.

News Hub: Buffett Warns Kraft
Jan. 5, 2010
In an unusual move, Warren Buffett issues a public warning to Kraft, which is trying to take over Cadbury. The News Hub analyzes why Mr. Buffett acted.

Lancaster Colony Continues Higher Cash Dividend
Press Release Source: Lancaster Colony Corporation On Wednesday February 24, 2010, 12:51 pm EST
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lancaster Colony Corporation (Nasdaq:LANC - News) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 30 cents per share on the company's common stock, payable March 31, 2010 to shareholders of record on March 10, 2010.
The board voted to continue the cash dividend at the higher level set three months ago. At that time, the company marked 47 consecutive years of increasing regular cash dividends each year. Lancaster Colony is one of only 17 U.S. companies to have increased regular cash dividends each year for 47 years.
Maxwell House and Wheel of Fortune Spell Out G-O-O-D
'Bonus Round' Sponsorship Will Benefit Feeding America

Press Release Source: Kraft Foods On Thursday February 25, 2010, 8:00 am EST
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While Maxwell House coffee reminds folks that a good day starts with a great cup of coffee, Pat Sajak and Vanna White end it with great television. Â Beginning Monday, February 22, Maxwell House coffee is beginning a partnership with America's favorite game show Wheel of Fortune, to join in the fight against domestic hunger with Feeding America.
(Logo: Â
Through the rest of the year, each time a contestant wins the Maxwell House-branded Bonus Round on Wheel of Fortune, Maxwell House will donate $2,500, up to $200,000, to Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief organization. Â The organization provides food to 37 million people through its network of more than 200 food banks across the nation every year.

"Maxwell House and Kraft Foods have been involved in hunger causes for many, many years," says Robert Mortati, Senior Director of Marketing, for the Maxwell House business. "And, since the economic downturn, it's become an even more pressing issue. Â This is a great opportunity for us to do some good, while bringing this important initiative to the attention of Wheel of Fortune's millions of viewers."
"We're thrilled that Maxwell House has chosen America's number-one game, not only as a platform for their product, but also as a partner in benefiting Feeding America," said Harry Friedman, Executive Producer, Wheel of Fortune. Â "Additionally, our Wheel of Fortune staff intends to supplement Maxwell House and Kraft Foods' generous financial support by volunteering their time. Â We hope that our viewers will be inspired to do the same."
"We are so grateful to Maxwell House and Wheel of Fortune for this exciting, generous opportunity," said Vicki Escarra, President & CEO of Feeding America. Â "The Maxwell House parent company, Kraft Foods, is a longtime partner of Feeding America, and we are thankful for this continued support. Â Our country is in crisis right now, with 49 million Americans currently struggling with hunger. Â No American should go hungry. Â Many thanks to Wheel of Fortune, Maxwell House and Kraft Foods for supporting us in the fight against hunger."
Additionally, as part of the partnership, Maxwell House will be sponsoring a series of segments on Wheel of Fortune, "Changing Lives One Spin at a Time." Â The series profiles past winners and demonstrates how they used their winnings to impact other people's lives, as well as their own.
To learn more about how you can help in the fight against hunger, go to