Kraft making strides on growth plan

by Eric Schroeder
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BOCA RATON, FLA. — With year one of its three-year growth plan in the books, Kraft Foods Inc.’s efforts to invest in brands, improve product quality, rebuild new product pipelines and strengthen its management team have been a success, said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft Foods, at a Feb. 19 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference in Boca Raton.

"Put simply, we’ve done what we said we would; it’s working; and we’re going to keep doing it," Ms. Rosenfeld said. "We will continue to build on this momentum in 2008 to deliver value to our shareholders."

Behind a backdrop of several new product success stories in 2007 such as DiGiorno Ultimate pizza and Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh cold cuts, Rick Searer, executive vice-president and president, North America, said Kraft would remain at the forefront of innovation in the coming year. He said the company will introduce Kraft Bagel-fuls hand-held breakfast sandwiches and DiGiorno and California Pizza Kitchen single-serve premium pizzas. In addition, the company will overhaul its Kraft salad dressings, including adding new packaging and taking out any artificial preservatives.

"Clearly, our iconic brands resonate with consumers," Mr. Searer said. "Going forward, we expect our investments to result in improved pricing power, stronger volume growth and product mix gains, which will lead to improved margin performance in 2008 and beyond."

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