Last month, three leading members of Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) called for widespread reform of current national dairy policies during the first dairy-specific field forum for the 2007 Farm Bill. Jim Green, IDFA chairman and president and chief executive officer of Minnesota-based company Kemps LLC, urged the committee to strip away outdated farm policies and replace them with a progressive program that would promote industry innovation and growth. Mark Davis, CEO of Davisco Foods International Inc., LeSueur, Minn., and board member of the National Cheese Institute, echoed Green’s call for reform, saying the current policy disrupts commerce and distorts marketplace signals to producers. Gordon Crow, director of government and community affairs for The Schwan Food Co., Marshall, Minn., called for changes to the domestic subsidy programs and encouraged the committee to avoid policy obstacles that would hinder the industry’s global market position.
Unilever North American Ice Cream is investing $7 million to upgrade its Good Humor-Breyers plant in Hagerstown, Md. As a result, the plant will hire about 50 more employees, increasing the total to about 525 workers. Many of the new workers will be hand packers, who take finished products and box them for distribution; other jobs will be in operation, wrap operations and maintenance. The 140,000-square-foot plant will expand by about 5,000 square feet. Other improvements will include new production lines and equipment.
Whole Foods Markets Inc. announced last month that stores throughout the Rocky Mountain region will discontinue carrying gallons of milk from Boulder, Colo.-based Horizon Organic to make way for the retailer’s own private label brand of organic milk. Stores will still carry the other sizes of Horizon Organic milk, as well as the company’s full line of other dairy products.
Lawyers have filed a new motion against Parmalat seeking permission to amend their complaint to assert claims against Parmalat S.p.A., the entity that recently emerged from Extraordinary Administration Proceedings (similar to U.S. bankruptcy) in Italy. Until recently, the class plaintiffs were prevented from filing claims against Parmalat Finanziaria and its subsidiaries and affiliates due to a stay issued in the Italian bankruptcy proceedings against all creditors, including class plaintiffs, and also a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. bankruptcy court against all creditors and class plaintiffs. The newly filed complaint allows Parmalat investors who lost billions of dollars in the company’s fraud-soaked collapse to seek claims against the company itself.
Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., a division of Mars Inc., may be looking to return to its more-recognizable old name since dumping the Mars moniker five years ago to leverage the company’s $18 billion in disparate businesses under a single umbrella. Mars had changed its corporate name to Masterfoods North America and centralized its three top divisions; it’s now reportedly looking to decentralize and restore the Mars name to new prominence. Masterfoods produces frozen novelties and desserts in addition to other food products.
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., South Burlington, Vt., has retained Colemanbrandworx (CBX) — a branding, design and consultancy agency — to fine-tune the ice cream manufacturer’s local store marketing program. Ben & Jerry’s has more than 430 franchised scoop shops in the United States.
The family of George Hansen, longtime supervisor of Central Milk Producers Cooperative (CMPC), McHenry, Ill., has endowed a scholarship fund to assist individuals from Midwest dairy farm families with college tuition costs. Hansen, who died in 1999, guided CMPC for more than 30 years through the dynamics of a changing industry.