Companies Winning and Losing in the Food Industry

On Tuesday, Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT) announced it will cut about 1,600 jobs in North America this year, due to splitting into two different companies.  Kraft is seeking to separate its grocery business from its world-wide snack business.  Kraft said about 20 percent of the job cuts are in currently open positions.  Kraft currently has about 127,000 employees world-wide, with 46,500 in North America.  Shares popped more than 1 percent on the news to reach a new 52-week high of $38.27.

Don’t Miss: Burger King Rolls Out Home Delivery.

Shares of St. Louis-based Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RAH) also popped Tuesday after detailing plans to spin off its Post cereals brand.  Ralcorp will complete the spinoff by distributing at least 80 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock of Post to Ralcorp shareholders.  Ralcorp shareholders will receive one share of Post common stock for every two shares of Ralcorp common stock they own.  Unlike the Kraft spinoff, Ralcorp’s move will create about 150 jobs, most of which will be in the downtown St. Louis area.

  • Other food-related stocks also performed well on Tuesday.  General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) and  Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) both hit new 52-week highs.  A recently released Jefferies survey explains that Whole Foods has experienced an increase in store traffic and willingness by consumers to buy discretionary goods after the holiday season.  Currently, Jefferies has a Buy rating on shares with a price target of $90.
  • In an effort to increase pressure on McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), Burger King is experimenting with a home delivery service at select locations in Maryland and Virginia.  Customers will pay a $2 deliver charge and must order a minimum of $8 to $10 worth of food, depending on the store. During the testing phase, orders will be accepted only from customers within a 10-minute drive of the restaurant, with the goal of delivery within 30 minutes or less.  Investors appeared to be unfazed by the news, as McDonald’s and Yum! Brands both traded higher.  Yum! Brands also made a new 52-week at $62.50 on Tuesday.
  • Shares of The Wendy’s Company (NYSE:WEN) declined more than 1.3 percent on Tuesday as the company announced the appointment of R. Scott Toop as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary and a member of its Executive Leadership Team, effective immediately.  “I have known Scott for many years and I highly respect his legal expertise, business acumen and passion for excellence. He is a ‘Five-Star’ performer. Scott’s extensive global restaurant experience will be invaluable to our leadership team, Board of Directors and entire organization as we work to grow the Wendy’s brand,” Brolick said.

Don’t Miss: Kraft Slashes Staff to Keep North America Lean.