“We remain focused on efficiency actions both in our organizing structure and in our operations and sourcing,” Lonergan said during the Nov. 7 call.
Coral BeachChef Todd Fisher of the cable television show “The Unites States of Bacon” demonstrated Chiquita’s new Fresh Express cooking greens with his smoked turkey and shrimp gumbo at Fresh Summit 2013 in New Orleans.“We are delivering our 4% target EBIT margin in bananas and remain on an appropriate glide path to deliver our target EBIT margin of 7%-8% for salads by the end of 2015.”
There are some ongoing costs associated with Chiquita’s consolidation of three salad plants and a distribution center in the Midwest into one facility.
The new facility is not yet fully operational, but Lonergan said full productivity should be achieved in 2014.
Chiquita also reported improvements in its banana business. Supply and demand was relatively balanced well into August and the company was able to hold high-season pricing for longer than is typical, especially in the European and Mediterranean markets, Lonergan said.
However, increasing volumes in North America boosted Chiquita’s banana business, with sales up 2.6% in the third quarter to $458 million, compared to the same quarter in 2013.
Comparable operating income increased to $20 million in the third quarter this year, compared to a $2 million loss in 2012’s third quarter, according to Chiquita’s balance sheet.
Note on clarification: The original version of this story did not specify that the 60% private label bagged salad statistic is in relation to the 4 million case increase, not Chiquita's total bagged salad business.