News briefs: Fonterra, Saputo and ice cream voting

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Milk, Fonterra

This week, Fonterra spies an end to rising commodity prices; Saputo reviews its operations following a fire in its US operations and ice cream gets political.

Fonterra predicts costs fall

The processing arm of New Zealand-based cooperative Fonterra says that it will be lowering the price of its finished product brands in the coming months, citing softening commodity costs.

The company said that while commodity prices still remain relatively high, they were beginning to fall, potentially resulting in consumers having to pay less for butter, cheese and yoghurt goods.

Peter McClure, managing director for Fonterra Brands, said that while the company itself had no impact on actual retail prices for its goods, the company would be charging its customers less for the products. These charges are expected to reach the consumer at retailer level as result, claims Fonterra.

“We have product in inventory such as cheese that was bought six months ago when its commodity price was more than double historical averages,”​ he stated. “So it might take some time for our prices to drop in some categories, the overall message however is they will drop.”

The company was not forthcoming on details of the exact level of price falls, stating that other factors such as a cessation in falling commodity prices could not be predicted.

Saputo hit by fire - report

The US operations of global food manufacturer Saputo have been rocked by a fire at its Vermont-based cheese plant, according to news reports.

‘Substantial’ damage estimated to be around $2m was caused at the plant, though the company said that none of its 100 employees from the site had been injured, said state broadcast service WCAX News.

Damage at the plant is thought to include the company’s storage facility and receiving operations, though the manufacturing site is reported to be in working order, according to the report.

Execs at Saputo’s Canadian headquarters are now waiting for reports from authorities before deciding on its next move for the site, which manufactures mozzarella and specialty cheese products.

Partisan ice cream

Election fever has this week gripped segments of the US dairy industry, with an ice-cream parlour chain testing a bold social experiment by using its products to determine the outcome of the US presidential race.

Ice cream flavours associated with the respective US presidential and vice-presidential candidates will be the order of the day, replacing the heavier issues of mooses, power dressing and pop songs dominating real life politcal discourse.

The company behind Farrell’s Ice-cream parlours said that it has therefore designed two specific ice cream concoctions reflecting both Republican and Democratic candidates.

The Obama-Biden sundae as it is collectively known combines mint flavoured ice-cream with chocolate, vanilla and fudge, along with the obligatory stars and stripes.

The McCain-Palin sundae includes chocolate and vanilla with peanut butter cups and caramel, plus the ubiquitous US flags.

Paul Kramer, president of parent company Parlour Enterprises, which will provide $1 of every sundae sold to the Red Cross, said that the company had been tallying the popularity of each ice cream with McCain currently in the lead. A welcome reward in a turbulent week for the Republican party then.

However, in all the fervour of creative ice cream use, the company urged consumers in the country not to forget casting their real life vote on 4 November.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Ice Cream, Fonterra

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