Food Business News - Dec 26, 2006 - (Page 1)

FoodBusinessNews ® NEWS, MARKETS AND ANALYSIS FOR THE FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRY Iceberg lettuce likely source in E. coli outbreak 16 Energy yogurt part of 2007 nutrition trends 33 Muhtar Kent named president and c.o.o. of The Coca-Cola Co. 51 MARKET WATCH U.S.D.A. working to define what is 'natural' WASHINGTON - A "timely" petition from Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., has opened a rulemaking process through which the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture intends to establish a new definition for the voluntary claim "natural" and guidance on how the claim may be allowed on the labels of meat and poultry products. The Hormel petition submitted Oct. 9 objected to modifications made by the F.S.I.S. in August 2005 to its longstanding policy on "natural" claims that since 1982 provided a definition of the voluntary claim "natural" and guidance on how the claim could be used on product labels. The original policy was based on two basic premises. First, in order to earn a "natural" claim, a product must not contain an artificial flavor, coloring ingredient Continued on Page 18 Packaged foods market seen remaining stable, but ... U.S. per capita eggplant consumption in lbs 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000-05 December 26, 2006 .30 .42 .46 .54 Financial analysts are wary heading into 2007 .80 Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Consumption has nearly doubled since the 1970s. The operating performance of the packaged food industry was mostly stable during 2006, and should remain as such in 2007 if cost pressures are kept in check, according to Fitch Ratings, Chicago. The ratings service projected volume growth in packaged foods to be in the 1% to 2% range, with sales growth in the low single digits and operat- ing earnings growth in the mid single digits. Other analysts had mixed assesments of the "state of the industry." "Many firms absorbed higher energy and packaging costs, which moderated during the latter half of the year, but still remain relatively high and are expected to stay in that range in the near-term," said Fitch Ratings in its annual review and outlook for the U.S. food and restaurant industries. "Although several of the packaged food companies are undergoing restructurings, the benefits from either revenue enhancements or cost savings for the most part have only partially flowed through to the bottom line. Fitch expects higher ingredient costs, due to elevated agricultural commodities prices, to also pressure margins in 2007 for the food and restaurant companies." Within packaged foods, Fitch analysts Continued on Page 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Business News - Dec 26, 2006


Food Business News - Dec 26, 2006