BEEF bits

Sep 10, 2010
by WLJ

McDonald’s at the bottom of survey

McDonald’s may have served billions of burgers, but according to a recent survey of 28,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, they fall at the bottom of the list among fast-food restaurants. Among the standouts were In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Consumer Reports recently polled 28,000 online subscribers and asked them to rate the burgers they had eaten on their last visit on a scale of 1 to 10 from least delicious burger ever eaten to most. The magazine rated 18 fast-food restaurants across the country.

Although other popular fast-food chains such as Wendy’s and Burger King fared better than McDonald’s, they scored far worse than the highestrated chains. Other fast-food frontrunners noted for their delicious burgers included Fuddruckers, Burgerville and Back Yard Burgers.

Hormel acquires Mexican label

MegaMex Foods LLC, the Mexican foods joint venture between Hormel Foods and Herdez Del Fuerte, S.A. de C.V., announced plans last Monday to acquire Don Miguel Foods Corp. The transaction is expected to close in October; terms were not disclosed. Don Miguel Foods is a manufacturer of branded frozen and fresh Mexican appetizers, snacks and handheld items. The portfolio includes mini tacos, flautas, taquitos, empanadas, burritos and roller-grill items. The company has a manufacturing and distribution center located near Dallas. Hormel officials said they expect their Mexican food product lines will be a major source of revenue going forward.

USDA increases ground beef price

The amount the federal government will pay for ground beef under its commodity purchasing program went up significantly with the latest contracts— between 18 percent and 25 percent per pound. It is the first such contract awarded since the USDA’s new requirements for ground beef processors went into effect at the beginning of July. According to the Food Purchase Report posted on the Agricultural Marketing Service website, USDA awarded contracts covering 360,000 pounds of frozen fine ground beef, paying between $2.0175 and $2.328 per pound. In the previous contract for the same products, awarded June 17, USDA paid between $1.7066 and $1.8776 per pound. The industry was watching for the new price points to see what value USDA would place on the additional testing and interventions required by the new standards for suppliers. A year ago, USDA paid between $1.296 and $1.3922 per pound for fine ground beef; the price rose steadily through June. Most of the USDA purchases are utilized by the National School Lunch Program.

Firm set to buy Burger King

Private equity group 3G Capital will buy Burger King for $4 billion, the hamburger chain announced Sept. 2. 3G Capital agreed to acquire all Burger King stock for $24 per share in cash, representing a 46 percent premium over the share price before market rumors surfaced. The price includes the assumption of Burger King’s outstanding debt. Burger King Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Chidsey will become co-chairman of the board upon completion of the transaction, and Alex Behring, managing partner of 3G Capital, will be appointed co-chairman alongside Chidsey. Burger King’s board unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Burger King has reported a 2.3 percent decline in sales its 2010 fiscal year, compared to a 1.2 percent increase during the same period last year.

Whole Foods to give welfare ratings

Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey said recently that the store will unveil a new animal welfare rating for meats sold in its stores by the end of the year. Mackey told reporters at USA Today that the company will also roll out a line of vegan foods which will contain no animal fat, canola or safflower oils and are low in sugar and salt. The animal welfare labeling system will inform consumers about how the animals the products were derived from were raised, similar to labeling already in place in the company’s European Union stores. “We’re rolling out initiatives to help shoppers and (staff) make healthier, more educated choices about food,” Mackey said during the interview.

USDA releases organic handbook

USDA has published the first edition of a program handbook designed for those who own, manage, or certify organic operations. Prepared by the National Organic Program (NOP), the handbook provides guidance about the national organic standards and instructions that outline best program practices. It is intended to serve as a resource for the organic industry that will help participants comply with federal regulations. The inaugural edition of the handbook provides guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems, approval of liquid fertilizers in organic production, certification of organic yeast, processed animal manures in organic crop production, reassessed inert ingredients, and the calculation of dry matter intake for NOP’s access to pasture requirements. It also includes instructions concerning organic certification.