Staff Directory 276895091

Kristen Leigh Painter

Reporter | Food industry
Phone: 612.673.4767
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Kristen Leigh Painter covers the food industry for the Star Tribune. She previously covered growth and development for the paper. Prior to that, Painter was a business reporter at the Denver Post, covering airlines and aerospace. She frequently writes about sustainable food production, consumer food trends and airlines.

Painter has had a diverse reporting career, interviewing dignitaries in Tokyo, rebel leaders in Sudan and slaughterhouse workers in Nebraska. She has a master's of arts in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and bachelor of science degree in history from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, daughter and an energetic Labrador retriever named Luna. In her free time, Painter likes to run, read fiction and plan her family's next trip or outdoor adventure.
Recent content from Kristen Leigh Painter
Delta will start using CarePod’s pet systems on its planes.

Federal government wants to put a stop to the petting zoo in the sky

It comes as Delta Air Lines announced it now offers a deluxe animal crate that can be tracked like luggage.
Fastenal's latest results were weakened by the slower industrial work during the yearend holidays and by the ongoing tariff dispute with China.

Holidays, tariffs trip up Fastenal a bit

Manufacturing bellwether's latest profit missed expectations partly due to holiday slowdown.
The Rev. Gordon “Gordy” Grimm

The Rev. Gordon Grimm, a minister and pioneer in the Minnesota Model of addiction treatment, dies at 86

Hired in 1965 as Hazelden's first full-time pastor, Grimm helped imbue the institution with a spiritual, whole-person approach to addiction treatment.
Good Catch, a brand of New York-based Gathered Foods that has attracted an investment from General Mills, has started selling three types of plant-bas

Vegan fish? General Mills invests in plant-based seafood

Tuna without the mercury and fish burgers without the fish.That's what Gathered Foods Corp., a startup firm that developed plant-based seafood, is selling — and…
Delta Air Lines launched its new line of uniforms for all its employees during a fashion show at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2018.

Should current uniforms at Delta Air Lines be grounded?

Skin, breathing and other health issues linked to the airline's uniforms have prompted two class action lawsuits. As many as 3,000 flight attendants have reported problems.
Cargill reported a $1.19 billion profit for the second quarter of fiscal 2020.

Cargill sees 61% increase in Q2 profits after shifting business to offset disruptions

The Minnetonka-based agribusiness was able to use size to its advantage.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian, shown here during a November visit to Minnesota, spoke Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Delta CEO envisions tech making future air travel far more personal

In a speech at CES, Ed Bastian outlines plans to use biometrics to help guide passengers through flying experience.
Celia Hahn was separated from her twin boys, Curry, left, and Ryan, right, during a Delta flight over Thanksgiving.

Parents, kids separated more often with new airline seating

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently decided against implementing a policy that would require airlines to seat minor children next to an accompanying adult. This leaves it up to the discretion of the airlines.
Investors watched General Mills' results for news about its entry into the pet food business and progress on boosting sales of snacks and yogurt. File

Blue Buffalo pet food continues to be a hit for General Mills

The company's pet food segment grew 16% in the latest quarter while U.S. cereal grew a surprising 5%.
Amazon is hiring Sun Country to fly shipments under its Amazon Air business. The six-year deal puts Sun Country into the scheduled cargo business for

Sun Country will start cargo service with a big first customer: Amazon

Minnesota airline will add 10 planes, 70 pilots under 6-year cargo service deal.
General Mills will sell limited edition heart-shaped regular and Honey Nut Cheerios.

O, no: Cheerios changes shape to a heart for new marketing campaign

It's all a part of the food maker's ongoing marketing campaign that claims its whole-grain cereals can be good for heart health.
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland, left, Mexico's top trade negotiator Jesus Seade, center, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Light

Minnesotans applaud trade breakthrough, forged by rare Pelosi-Trump compromise

The biggest obstacle to trade for Minnesota farmers, the trade war with China, remains.
Jay Johnson, Revol Greens president and partner, with greens at the company's Medford, Minn., indoor growing facility.

Indoor lettuce growers find market amid another E. coli outbreak

Another outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce has sickened more than 100 people nationwide and left others wondering if raw salad is safe.As food-safety…
Sun Country will start flying to Vancouver.

Sun Country adds summer route between MSP and Vancouver

Sun Country Airlines is expanding to Canada for the first time.Beginning May 20, the Twin Cities-based carrier will fly nonstop from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport…
UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.

Type of helicopter that crashed in Minnesota known for its reliability

Mishap rate "relatively low" for the UH-60 Black Hawk, which has been used by the U.S. military since 1978.
JBS USA already operates an extensive hog slaughterhouse in Worthington.

JBS to buy nearly shuttered Pipestone, Minn., meat plant, preserving 130 jobs

The world's largest beef and pork processor is expanding its footprint in Minnesota with the purchase of a nearly-shuttered beef processing plant in Pipestone.
General Mills is joining the plant-based foods craze with the launch of its first-ever nondairy yogurt, a coconut-based product under the Oui by Yopla

General Mills joins the plant-based frenzy with a new dairy-free yogurt

The mega food maker launches a coconut-milk based product to compete for consumers.
Cargill's announcement coincides with the U.N. climate summit.

Cargill commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The commitment follows a contentious summer when Cargill faced severe activist criticism during the recent spate of fires in and around the Amazon.
Turkeys are back for Hormel

Turkeys are back for Hormel

The turkey business helped offset lower pork prices.
The Jennie-O turkey business of Hormel Foods enlisted celebrity chefs to answer questions on a Thanksgiving feast hotline this week.

You forgot to thaw your Thanksgiving turkey? Jennie-O has celebrity chefs who can help

Uh, oh. What if you didn't start thawing your 20-pound turkey in time for Thanksgiving? What sort of main course should you make for your…
Inspected: Casey Preston-Scott checked organic beef at Lorentz Meats in Cannon Falls, Minn., the processor for Blue Nest Beef.

Food startup Blue Nest offers beef from cattle that fix climate-change problems

Partnership with Audubon helps company find target for direct sales to consumers.
Some bagged salads sold at Minnesota stores recalled

Some bagged salads sold at Minnesota stores recalled

Target and Aldi labels are included on the list.
Wuollet Bakery is in full preparation mode for the holiday season, its first under new owner Eric Shogren, who also owns A Baker’s Wife and a Russia

New Wuollet owner aims for younger audience — but won't change princess torte

The Wuollet family recently sold the 75-year-old Twin Cities bakery chain to Eric Shogren, a Minneapolis native with experience running bakeries in Russia.
Cargill and Royal DSM are producing EverSweet, a new sugar substitute, at Cargill's ingredients plant in Blair, Neb., shown here.

Cargill, DSM ramp up production of new sugar substitute

The product, called EverSweet, has traits similar to stevia but without the bitter aftertaste.
The fifth annual Minnesota Mujeres Latinas Expo will be in Bloomington Saturday. Women business owners and others gather for workshops and to sell goo

Minnesota Latina Women's Expo offers connections

The fifth-annual conference aims to bolster Hispanic women on the state's business scene.

Rembrandt Foods to shutter Minnesota egg plant, laying off 52 workers

The Iowa-based egg manufacturer did not give a reason, but said the Renville plant would begin closing down shop in January.
St. Paul Saints co-owner Mike Veeck at his South Carolina home with daughter Rebecca, 11, in 2003.

Rebecca Veeck, Saints ballpark greeter from childhood, dies at 27

Longtime fans may remember her wearing matching tutus with the team's mascot, a pig, to deliver baseballs to the home plate umpire.
Seven Sundays, led by (from left) Carrie Lewis, Brady Barnstable, Hannah Barnstable, Molly Goodearle and Andy Montzka, gained B corporation status.

Minneapolis muesli maker Seven Sundays restructures with an eye on social goals

It has qualified as a certified B corporation, one that balances profits with good works.
CEO Ed Bastian said the AFA has tried before and failed to unionize Delta’s flight attendants. “I feel optimistic that the Delta spirit is going t

Nation's largest flight-attendant's union makes another run at Delta

Organizing failed in past, but labor sees recent surge.
Workers at a General Mills plant in Iowa rejected a contract offer late Wednesday, setting the stage for a possible strike.

General Mills workers at Iowa plant reject a contract offer, raising prospect of strike

Workers in Cedar Rapids voted down a contract; talks recently turned sour.
Sun Country will fly to Baltimore, Cleveland, Bozeman, Montana, and Portland, Maine, from MSP next summer.

Sun Country offers four new summer routes, including the only nonstop from MSP to Portland, Maine

The routes reflect Sun Country's strategy of shifting northward in the summer.
Cargill finalized the sale of its malt business to Boortmalt, a unit of the French agriculture cooperative Axereal.

Cargill finalizes sale of its 40-year-old malt business

The Minnetonka firm says it will focus on other food and beverage ingredients.
Joe Driscoll, who worked at General Mills and Angie’s Boomchickapop before becoming CEO at Pearson, said, “ Our goal is to become the premier cand

New CEO takes over at Pearson Candy, backed by local money, ideas to grow

St. Paul's Pearson Candy Co. embraces its classic products while developing new ones.
Schwan’s is now letting other food product firms use its nationwide distribution system to reach customers.

For first time, Schwan's offers distribution network to food startup firms

Online grocery shopping is projected to quadruple from 2018 to 2023, and some think the frozen category has even more room to grow.
Sun Country Airlines has seen its charter flight business increase this year, in part because rivals' fleets have been constrained by the grounding of

Sun Country scores bookings as 737 Max grounding hits rivals

The Minnesota airline's lesser-known business is flourishing at the moment. Sun Country doesn't have Max planes in its fleet and relies heavily on the 737-800.
Sun Country Airlines is partnering with a new bus service, called Landline, to offer land and air service from Duluth and Mankato. The service may exp

Sun Country reaches out to Duluth, Mankato air travelers, with bus to MSP

Sun Country is Landline's launch customer, and Minnesota will be the first market to test the concept.
Post Consumer Brands CEO Howard Friedman faces the challenge of navigating the company through big changes in consumer breakfast-eating habits.

New leader at Post finds cereal lovers still love the sweet stuff

CEO Howard Friedman sees growth despite changes in Americans' breakfast habits.
Premade products such as some chicken salads are being recalled after a listeria outbreak.

Lawsuit filed related to ongoing listeria outbreak linked to precooked chicken products

The chicken could be in chicken salad, strips or other prepared items sold under a number of different brands.
The union representing workers at Worthington hog producer JBS has sued the USDA.

Union sues to stop new Trump rule it says takes public oversight out of meatpacking

Suit says removal of limit on line speeds could lead to more injuries, unsafe meat.

Minnesota observes first Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day

Day of awareness aims to fight stigma of military suicides and offer help.

Delta changes terms and perks on its American Express credit cards.

Most will earn points faster, but all but blue cardholders will take a bump to the annual fee.
Sun Country airlines has revamped its technology and more after several customer service issues over the summer.

After summer tailspin, Sun Country redesigns its customer service

The transition to new technology has been the latest rough patch for the airline in its multiyear transformation into an ultralow-cost carrier.
Cargill's latest profit fell 10% but demand for beef in the U.S. helped the company counter pressure from reduced global trade.

Americans' beef habit helped Cargill during this summer's trade uncertainty

Agribusiness giant reported its Q1 earnings Thursday with protein leading the way.
The agribusiness giant Cargill is restructuring its animal feed businesses.

Cargill reorganizes animal nutrition unit, adds health products to feed-oriented business

The moves should simplify product ordering for farmers, Cargill says.
Jeff Harmening’s first two years as CEO saw new trends in the industry that strain the agility of a behemoth like General Mills.

General Mills CEO Harmening's bold first-year bets are paying off

General Mills stock is up 25% from a year ago as Blue Buffalo is bolstering sales growth and U.S. cereal has regained the No. 1 market position.
Cameron's Coffee has been sold to Colombian conglomerate Grupo Nutresa S.A. Shown here is the company's coffee processing and packaging facility in Sh

Shakopee-based Cameron's Coffee sold for $113 million

The coffee roaster and distributor's headquarters and operations are to remain in Minnesota after sale to Colombian food conglomerate.
Improvements in U.S. snack and cereal sales will be especially important in General Mills hitting its long-term growth forecast, said the company's ch

Hiccups in General Mills' international business to blame for lower quarterly sales

Decline in quarter attributed to hiccups in international markets.
General Mills is recalling a batch of Gold Medal flour produced at a plant in Kansas City. File photo of a painting called "Gold Medal Flour" at a Min

600K pounds of Gold Medal flour recalled over E. coli concerns

General Mills urges consumers to toss out affected product and not to eat raw dough.
Volatility in the produce market will make indoor agriculture “increasingly feasible,” said Bushel Boy President Steve Irland.

Owatonna's Bushel Boy building $35 million facility to increase tomato business

The company broke ground on a new Mason City, Iowa, facility and is expanding its Owatonna greenhouses.
Cargill is exiting the asset management business with the sale of its CarVal unit to that firm's leaders.

Cargill sells CarVal subsidiary, exiting the asset-management business

Top executives are buying the investment-fund manager, which handles $10B in assets.
This 2017 photo features one of Recombinetics' hornless cows.

A lesson in editing genes: St. Paul firm's hornless cow had a plasmid it wasn't supposed to

A government researcher discovered an anomaly that underscored the complexity of an emerging industry.
Hormel’s Happy Little Plants product line will feature ground protein and sausage-like products made from soy and other plants. The line positions t

Hormel unwraps plant-based protein line, called Happy Little Plants

The maker of bacon, ham, turkey and Spam is turning to plants as a protein source.

Nestlé to close Brooklyn Park facility, resulting in 56 job cuts

The fate of the pizza and ice cream storage facility reflects a broader shift in the food industry.
Kay Beaulieu and her granddaughter Madison Deiman sampled Live Real Farms’ blended milk at the State Fair Wednesday afternoon.

Half-milk, half-nut drink? In a first, Minnesota dairy brand offers blended milks

Live Real Farms gives nod to the plant-based trend while keeping lactose-free in the mix.
Puris CEO Tyler Lorenzen said Cargill’s investment is “a huge opportunity to find out what’s possible in plant-based foods.”

Cargill makes $75 million investment in Puris, a key supplier to Beyond Meat

Cargill's funds will help Puris expand a production plant in Dawson, Minn.
Earlier this year Sun Country unveiled the new look for its fleet of Boeing 737s at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Sun Country's owner explores taking the privately owned airline public

Private-equity firm that bought Minnesota carrier is gauging investor interest in IPO.
Caribou Cabins is a new tiny store concept with only drive-through and walk-up windows. The latest format by Caribou Coffee will have no indoor seatin

Caribou Coffee launches new tiny-store format called 'cabins'

Energy drink introduced along with the new tiny-store format.
Higher costs for avocados, like these at a market in Mexico City on Friday, July 12, 2019, has cut into Hormel's profits.

Expensive avocados ding Hormel's bottom line, bacon buoys sales

Refrigerated food sales offset the decline also exacerbated by African swine fever, trade.
Sun Country will fly to Sarasota, Fla., and Nassau, Bahamas, from MSP this winter.

Sun Country announces MSP winter flights to Sarasota, Bahamas

Routes to Sarasota and Bahamas part of airline's strategy of more destinations, less frequency.
Conveyor belts sent sweet corn into the Sleepy Eye Del Monte plant to be cleaned, cooked, canned and shipped to stores.

Del Monte will close 89-year-old Minn. plant, lay off all workers

The California-based fruit and vegetable packaged food company will shut down the plant in Sleepy Eye in October.
Kofi Bruce, new chief financial officer of General Mills

Two big exits at General Mills: CFO Mulligan to retire, Blue Buffalo's Bishop steps back

Kofi Bruce, a finance exec with a 10-year record at the firm, was named the company's next CFO.
Rodney Ebersviller

Rodney Ebersviller, wounded and captured in WWII, dies at age 94

Once deployed, it didn't take long for Ebersviller to see combat.
An environmental group dropped a shareholder resolution against General Mills after the company adopted new language and policies regarding pesticides

Environmental group drops criticism of General Mills

It came after the company acknowledged pesticides are a problem in food supplies and outlined steps to reduce their use.
Compass Airlines, a Twin Cities-based regional carrier, will stop flying regional flights for Delta Air Lines. The airline is a descendant of Northwes

Minnesota's Compass Airlines loses deal as a Delta regional carrier

The company declined to say how it intends to make up the revenue loss or how the contract loss could affect employees.
Rose Barry demonstrates how she mixes assorted ingredients to try and figure out new products that can be made in Africa to help feed the population s

From Minnesota to Africa, local nonprofit connects food experts worlds apart

Minnesota-based Partners in Food Solutions connects U.S. food experts with smaller African companies looking for new ways to feed large populations.
Devry Boughner Vorwerk, vice president of global corporate affairs and chief communications officer for Cargill Inc., left the company this week. Her

One of Cargill's most visible leaders has left the ag giant

Devry Boughner Vorwerk shaped the ag giant's public image and directed government lobbying.
Billy Bishop joined General Mills as head of its new pet-food business when it purchased Blue Buffalo for $8 billion.

Blue Buffalo's hard-charging boss gets used to life at General Mills

Billy Bishop helped get Blue Buffalo off the ground; General Mills is taking the next step.
Cargill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the North American beef supplies over the next decade. 2018 file photo of cattle at an Iowa farm.

Cargill aims for 30% cut in greenhouse gases tied to North American beef production

It will promote different feed and grazing practices to reduce methane from cattle, feed crops.
The tops of General Mills cereal boxes show the new way to participate in the company's Box Tops for Education fund-raising program.

Forget the scissors: Box Tops for Education goes digital

The 23-year-old school fundraising program led by General Mills gets a modern update.
Organic Valley is jumping into the market for ultrafiltered milk with four versions that will be available in stores nationwide.

Organic Valley rolls out ultrafiltered milk, betting on low sugar, high protein drink

The Wisconsin-based co-op, with numerous Minnesota farmers, is competing against Coca-Cola's Fairlife milk.
John Gibson (left), Mike Higgins and Tim McKee of The Fish Guys. They are setting up a plant in Northfield to process cuts of meat for restaurant clie

Twin Cities fish distributor opens a plant to process meat in Northfield

The Fish Guys of St. Louis Park plan to offer customized cuts.
Plant-based foods, such as "meatless meatballs" like these shown in a file photo, rose about 11% in sales by revenue in the U.S. last year. Some bigge

Plant-based food sales rose 11% last year, moving beyond niche status

Alternative milks are maturing while newer foods, like plant-based "eggs," are taking off.
Traditional trees of the Cerrado ecosystem in Brazil, known as the Brazilian savanna,which are being cleared to grow crops.

Environmentalists put more pressure on Cargill to slow forest-to-farm movement in Brazil

Ag giant falls short in goal to halt clearing of land in Brazil.
Cargill endured a difficult spring as farmers grappled with weather challenges, Chinese demand for animal feed plunged amid a hog-killing epidemic and

Trading turbulence, swine disease in China slammed Cargill's profit this spring

Man-made and natural troubles mounted for the giant food processor and trader.
Sun Country is lowering fees for changing flight reservations and dropping them altogether if a change happens 60 days or more before travel.

Sun Country gives its passengers some good news: Lower change fees

There will be no charge if a passenger makes a switch 60 days before departure.