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TOP VENDING STORIES (Dec. 16): Ready-To-Eat Meals Expand; Pierre Emerges From Ch. 11; Anuga Set For Oct. 2009; More...

Posted On: 12/16/2008

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NPD: Ready-To-Eat Retail Meals Represent Growing Share Of Foodservice

CHICAGO -- Consumers are increasingly turning to retail stores for quick, convenient meals to consume on the go throughout the day. Retail foodservice -- including food, drug, discount, department and price-club stores -- represents spending of close to $13 billion, and 6% of the roughly 62 billion commercial foodservice meals and snacks consumed annually are purchased from such establishments, according to market research firm NPD Group's recently released "Retail Meal Solutions" report.

According to the report, which analyzes how retailers are currently satisfying consumers' needs for ready-to- eat foods, such meal and snack purchases increased 2% for the year ended August 2008. The quick-service restaurant segment, which competes with retail stores in providing convenient meal solutions, served only 1% more meals and snacks for the year, and the full- service restaurant segment realized a downturn.

"Consumers' increasing use of foodservice for readymade meals has long been recognized by grocery retailers as an opportunity," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the report. "For some time, retail stores have offered prepared foods in the deli department, but have now expanded foodservice offerings to include a variety of cold and hot ready-to-consume meals and snacks."

The report dispels the popular belief that supper is the prime daypart for retail meal and snack solutions. NPD finds supper accounts for only 17% of retail meals consumed, but is steadily growing, whereas it's a weakening daypart for QSRs. The afternoon snack occasion represents the largest share, 35%, of ready- to-eat food consumed, followed by lunch with 27% and morning meals with 21%.

"Retail outlets are more dependent on morning meals and PM snack purchases than QSR," said Riggs. "These are the on-the-go needs that are being met by retailers -- consumers making those purchases on the way to work, to eat at work, or in their car. Purchases that otherwise would have been made at a QSR."

Consumer motivation in purchasing prepared meals and snacks from retail stores include convenience, availability of healthier options, variety and affordability, according to the report. Riggs pointed out that these are attributes consumers report are lacking at QSRs.

"As always, it's a matter of learning and understanding consumers' needs when it comes to meal and snack solutions," she said. "With this learning and understanding, there is opportunity here for retailers, foodservice manufacturers and restaurant operators."



Pierre Foods Emerges From Ch. 11; Taps Toler CEO

CINCINNATI -- Pierre Foods Inc. said it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after meeting all statutory requirements for its plan of reorganization. The convenience food company also reported that William Toler has been named chief executive officer, effective immediately. He succeeds Norbert Woodhams, who is retiring.

Pierre filed for bankruptcy protection last July. Its reorganization plan was confirmed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Dec. 10. In conjunction with the plan, Pierre has also closed its $95 million exit financing facility.

Toler brings more than 25 years of industry experience to Pierre Foods, most recently serving as president of Pinnacle Foods. His prior posts included president of Campbell Soup Co. and vice-president, sales and integrated logistics, for Nabisco. Toler began his career at Procter & Gamble in 1981.

Pierre's new board of directors includes Steven Kaplan, chairman of the board; William D. Toler, director; and Matthew Wilson, director. Additionally, the company expects to announce the appointment of two new members of the board in the coming weeks.

Founded in 1946, Pierre Foods is a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of precooked and ready-to-cook protein products, compartmentalized meals and handheld convenience sandwiches. Its products are widely used in vending.



Anuga Organizers Set 2009 Trade Fair For Oct. 10-14

COLOGNE, Germany -- The organizers of the biennial Anuga trade fair report that the 2009 show will be held Oct. 10 to 14 at the Cologne Fairgrounds. Anuga is one of the world's largest food industry trade shows, combining 10 special-interest exhibits in a single venue.

Anuga has become a prime forum for United States food, beverage and equipment suppliers seeking to bolster their international presence, according to Koelnmesse, which administers the event. "With $9.8 million in onsite sales and $89 million in projected 12- month sales, Anuga 2007 was a very successful business venture for our 148 USA Pavilion exhibitors," the show managers said.

Recognizing its value in encouraging international trade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service has endorsed Anuga's USA Pavilion. It is a USDA-supported show, and financial support is available to exhibitors through their State Regional Trade Groups.

The 10 specialized trade shows that make up Anuga include Anuga CateringTec, spotlighting foodservice and catering equipment; Anuga Dairy; Anuga Drinks; Anuga Frozen Food; Anuga Chilled Food; Anuga Organic; Anuga Meat; Anuga Bread & Bakery/Hot Beverages; Anuga Retail; and Anuga Fine Food.

In 2009, Anuga's organizers are offering early-bird discounts to U.S. exhibitors. The savings can amount to as much as $50 per sq.ft., with additional incentives available to firms exhibiting in the Frozen Food, Drink or Organic pavilions.

Anuga attracts more than 163,000 qualified industry participants from approximately 175 nations. Nearly 7,000 companies exhibit at the show.

Information on Anuga 2009 may be found online at Information on exhibiting is available from from Veronica Woods at Koelnmesse's U.S. offices in Chicago, (773) 326-9922.



Starbucks Extends Interactive Cup Vender Lineup

SEATTLE -- Starbucks announced the addition of two new models of its popular Starbucks Interactive Cup fresh-ground coffee vending machine.

Encompassing all of the features of the Starbucks Interactive Cup machine, the new ePayment brewer can accept credit cards. It produces freshly ground and brewed coffee one cup at a time, and can offer a selection of Tazo teas and Starbucks hot cocoa.

Whole-bean coffee is supplied in 16-fl.oz. bags that yield approximately 23 cups, providing operators an eco- friendly way to supply a premium Starbucks experience with minimal waste.

For smaller locations unable to accommodate the full- size model, Starbucks is now offering the compact, stylish and economical Interactive Cup mini brewer. Its parts are compatible with the original Starbucks Interactive Cup brewer.

The Interactive Cup program supports social- and environmental-responsibility initiatives, with Fair Trade coffees, paper cups made with 10% post-consumer fiber and recycled paper napkins.

For OCS, Starbucks offers its coffeehouse favorites in 2.5-oz. bags, along with Tazo tea, paper cups and napkins, creating total breakroom solutions. It provides an extensive support network and a full program tailored to business customers. For more information, visit



Colorado Schools Eliminate Soda, Sugary Drinks

DENVER -- The Colorado Board of Education has approved new rules to eliminate soda and other sugary soft drinks from school vending machines and cafeterias, according to an Associated Press report.

The regulations permit the sale of water, low-fat and flavored milk, and milk substitutes approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and juice in elementary and middle schools. High school students can also have access to low-calorie sport drinks, the news agency reported.

Most Colorado schools have removed conventional carbonated soft drinks in recent years. Under the new rules, diet soda, no longer considered a "healthier" alternative, will be eliminated as well.

The rules take effect July 1, 2009, but districts under contract with bottlers can continue selling existing selections until their agreements expire.



National Beverage Corp. Q2 Sales, Profits Steady With Year-Ago Quarter

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL -- National Beverage Corp.'s second-quarter performance was consistent with the comparable period last year. Net income was $6.48 million and sales were $144.38 million for the second quarter ended Nov. 1, 2008, compared with net income in 2007 of $6.48 million and $143.53 million in net sales.

Chairman and chief executive officer Nick A. Caporella said the company maintained profitability despite a $5 million increase in ingredient costs during the second quarter over the prior-year period, through its leadership in the "value-recognized" flavored soft-drink business, with its core Shasta and Faygo brands. "Retailers know that concerned consumers are reaching out for value and we are experiencing increased sales in both new distribution and steadfast retailers alike," he commented.



New York Governor Targets Soda Tax

ALBANY, NY -- New York Gov. David Paterson is set to unveil his annual state budget today, aimed at closing a $12.5 billion deficit for next year. It reportedly proposes an "obesity tax" that would cost New Yorkers 15% more for purchasing regular soda than they'd pay for diet varieties, according to Albany's Times- Union.

The proposed plan would raise an estimated $404 million, and sources say it is supported by New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden.