Smithfield Foods third-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates

reuters / Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest U.S. hog producer, reported third-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates, helped by higher sales of packaged meat products such as Smithfield bacon and Eckrich and Armour sausages.

The company, which receives nearly half of its revenue from packaged meat, said higher demand from international markets, particularly from Poland and Romania, drove double-digit growth in Smithfield bacon and Eckrich and Armour businesses.

Packaged meat sales increased four per cent to $1.76 billion while volume rose five per cent.

The company forecast packaged meat volume growth of at least two per cent to three per cent in 2013, a trend it expects to continue in 2014.

Smithfield said it expected lower supplies and higher prices for competing proteins, such as beef and chicken, to push up pork retail prices in 2013.

The worst drought in the U.S. Midwest last year pushed up prices for corn feed, and many livestock producers culled supplies to combat the effect.

Horsemeat scandal pummels sales of frozen meals

paris / reuters / Sales of frozen meat-based prepared meals such as lasagna fell by nearly 30 per cent in France after the horsemeat scandal and are showing no sign of recovery.

There was a similar drop in Britain after horsemeat was found in lasagna, moussaka and shepherd’s pie.

“People are continuing in the same trend as they did in the first week,” said Jacques Dupre, head of market research firm Symphony.

“The feeling of insecurity and fear of food products’ composition can only continue given the media attention, the crisis’s geographical expansion and technological expansion.”

Europe’s horsemeat scandal began in January after testing in Ireland showed some beef products also contained equine genetic material. Since then, it has spread across Europe, ensnaring numerous well-known brands, prompting product withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations into the region’s complex food-processing chains.

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