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Cargill acquires two of Carneco’s meat processing facilities

BY Jenna Duncan

COLUMBUS, Ohio Cargill Value Added Meats, part of Cargill Inc., has said that it will complete its acquisition of Carneco Foods by January. The companies announced that they had come to terms on a purchase agreement Thursday for Cargill to buy two of Carneco’s processing plants, reports said.

Cargill Value Added Meats was searching for a new operating plant after it lost its Booneville, Ark., facility to a fire March 23. by fire on Easter Sunday. Cargill Value Added Meats president, John O’Carroll, told the press that Cargill was approached by Lopez Foods, the owner of Carneco, and Lopoez offered to sell its two facilities. O’Carroll also said that originally Cargill has planned to open a new plant in Texas.

Carneco is the maker of beef chubs, frozen beef patties and pre-packaged fresh ground beef.

Details of the buyout are said to be finalized on or around Jan. 2, 2009.

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More shoppers buying economy-sized items to save money in hard times

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Given the current state of the economy, nearly half of U.S. consumers are looking to help stretch their dollars by buying larger economy-sized offerings, according to a consumer survey released by the Nielsen Company on Tuesday.

Conversely, only 17 percent of consumers prefer new, smaller pack products at lower pricepoints.

“Without question, this is an extremely tough time for today’s consumer,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president, consumer and shopper insights for the Nielsen Company. “CPG manufacturers and retailers have few options to manage rising commodity costs beyond absorbing increased costs, passing on increases to consumers by raising prices or cover increased costs by downsizing offerings,” he said. “Downsizing, in particular, is not a new option—we’ve seen downsizing over the last few years in a number of categories, including ice cream, cereal, candy bars, salty snacks and paper products.”

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Widespread ad campaign released for first all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener

BY Melissa Valliant

MINNETONKA, Minn. Cargill, an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services, is launching an aggressive ad campaign for Truvia, the first natural, no-calorie sweetener made from the stevia leaf. Calorie-conscious consumers have been using no- and low-calorie sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet’n Low for a while now, but both of these products are artificially engineered.

Truvia will be debuting on national network and cable TV, national consumer print publications and women- and wellness-focused Web sites. Respected commercial director Mikon van Gastel, who has directed ads for Nike, IBM, Reebok, Olympus, Absolut and Target, among others, will be directing four 30-second TV spots for the new product. The ads will include close-up shots of the stevia leaf, conveying to consumers the sweetener’s purity.  

“Through research, we found that consumers are trying to live more balanced lives but have a complicated relationship with sweeteners,” said Zanna McFerson, director at Cargill Health and Nutrition. “The marketing campaign to launch Truvia tabletop sweetener is designed to inform consumers that for the first time, there is a natural great-tasting zero calorie sweetener that comes from a leaf, not a lab.”

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