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Cargill turns over third-quarter earnings in fiscal 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS Cargill, international food production and supply company, reported net earnings of $1.03 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2008, ended Feb. 29. That figure is up 86 percent from last year when the company reported $553 million. Earnings from the first nine months of fiscal 2008 reached $2.9 billion—a 69 percent increase from $1.71 billion during the same time last year.

Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Cargill posted a third consecutive strong quarter in a year in which the dimensions of change in global agriculture are striking S Prices are setting new highs and markets are extraordinarily volatile. In this environment, Cargill’s team has done an exceptional job measuring and assessing price risk, and managing the large volume of grains, oilseeds and other commodities moving through our supply chains for customers globally.”

Cargill has announced success in its diversification measures, global assets, market insight and risk management. “Our business model gives us the wherewithal to remain customer focused in a very challenging operating environment,” Page said.

Cargill reported that four out of five of its business segments saw increased earnings compared to third quarter 2007. The origination and processing segment, which sources, processes and distributes agricultural commodities and provides supply chain and risk management services to customers globally, saw the greatest earnings. The Cargill industrial segment also saw a dramatic increase. Risk management and Cargill’s financial segment experienced mixed results in the third quarter, but overall were down from the same time in 2007, the company said.

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Mrs. Butterworth’s stages breakfast comeback

BY Jenna Duncan

ST. LOUIS The marketing team for Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake and waffle syrup has put together the most extensive multi-platform campaign the brand has seen in about 10 years. The campaign is set to launch this week with TV ads, an interactive game and online contest, and a relaunch of the Mrs. Butterworth’s Web site.

Pinnacle Foods, the company that acquired Mrs. Butterworth’s in 2004, said the new ads target kids and moms.

“The ads are designed to introduce the talking Mrs. Butterworth bottle to a new generation of kids, and remind parents how Mrs. Butterworth makes breakfast fun,” Andy Reichgut, vice president of marketing at Pinnacle, Mountain Lakes, N.J., said.

The ad campaign speaks to the heritage of the Mrs. Butterworth’s brand, Pinnacle representatives said. Two TV ads focus on Mrs. Butterworth’s syrups, and a third promotes the interactive game. The redesigned Web site and interactive online game launch this week at www.wheresmrsbutterworth.com.

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Pepperidge Farm ends pre-pricing packaged snacks

BY Jenna Duncan

NORWALK, Conn. Pepperidge Farm, the maker of packaged soft and hard baked cookies, snack chips and Goldfish Crackers, is no longer stamping packaging with predetermined suggested retail prices.

Representatives from Pepperidge Farm said that pre-marked packages will be gone from convenience, drug store and other retail shelves by late May. The package sizes affected by the edit include 6.25- and 7.2-oz. bags of around 12 different SKUs of snacks, including Goldfish Crackers (currently priced at $2.19) and Pepperidge Farm’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies (pre-marked $3.19).

The reason for getting rid of the pre-marked packages, the company said, was to stay flexible in the pricing of its cookies and crackers in order to withstand the rising costs of commodities and shipping.

Other companies, such as Kellogg and Kraft, have removed price-labeling from some of their snack items, as well. Some retailers have said they are will no longer stock pre-priced snacks, which could affect sales of certain brands across categories.

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