Staff Directory 276895091

Kristen Leigh Painter

Reporter | Food industry
phone: 612.673.4767
Kristen Leigh Painter covers the food industry, including General Mills, Cargill and Hormel. She also writes about airlines, and previously was a business reporter for The Denver Post. She can be reached at or 612.673.4767.
Recent content from Kristen Leigh Painter
Sun Country Airlines said it will reimburse passengers left stranded in Mexico by two flight cancellations for their added transportation costs to get

Sun Country offers to pay extra costs for stranded passengers

After 250 passengers had to find their own way home, chief executive says Sun Country needs to find ways to "handle stresses to our system."
Sun Country didn't have a contingency for the blizzard that came right when it made its seasonal turn in flight schedules.

Sun Country says blizzard left it and its passengers in lose-lose situation

Sun Country's call-center employees camped overnight to help customers stranded in Mexico, but its planes had moved on

Minnesota beer distributor's drivers go on strike over company's desire for route changes

Distributor J.J. Taylor wants route flexibility; Teamsters say that raises safety issues.
Coastal Seafood, shown in 2010, has outgrown its Minneapolis space and is moving — along with its sister wholesale business — to roomier quarters

Coastal Seafood will expand its Minneapolis retail, wholesale, location by moving across the street

Backed by a new owner, Coastal is moving to space that's nearly 10 times larger.
The plant will produce 170 million eggs a year after the expansion. That’s double its current production.

Cargill will spend $20 million to expand egg processing site in Big Lake

Firm plans to invest $20M, double plant output for egg products as breakfast booms.
Cargill's operating earnings grew in most of its businesses over the December to February project.

Cargill's performance rose through winter, but new tax law cut into bottom line

Its animal nutrition and protein business led Cargill's business units.
The top of the Osborn370 building in St. Paul, which will house the Farm to Fork Accelerator Program

Program to help food-related startups picks St. Paul for office

The Farm to Fork Accelerator Program, run by Techstars, has leased space in downtown St. Paul's Osborn370 building on Wabasha Street.

Food company recalls canned chicken sold at Sam's Club

A southern Minnesota food manufacturer is recalling more than 96,000 pounds of canned chicken sold at Sam’s Club locations nationwide after hard plastic was found…
Customers shopped for pork at a supermarket in Beijing on Friday, the day China announced a $3 billion list of U.S. goods including pork, apples and s

China's volley in trade war may first hit hog farmers in Minnesota, Midwest

China's retaliatory moves to penalize pork, ethanol will have outsized impact in the state.
John Gibson (left), Mike Higgins and Tim McKee of the Fish Guys, which is launching Market House Meats to expand into offering cattle, chicken and por

Fish Guys Inc. expanding into cattle, chicken and pork sales

Wholesale seafood company to supply cattle, chicken, pork from Upper Midwest family farms.
Cargill sensory specialist Nisa Tharayil prepared the morning test for the 14 test subjects who each receive two sets of three numbered plates of frie

A better French fry, but will American consumers buy it?

Part 4: Many Americans remain skeptical of GMOs as scientists tout their role in improving the environmental quality, diversity and sustainability of agriculture.
Northstar Bison, one of the largest producers of 100 percent grass-fed bison, takes up to three years to raise each bison.

Part 2: Skyrocketing sales of grass-fed beef are forcing the industry to change

Part 2: Consumers looking for healthier, more environmentally friendly options are putting pressure on conventional producers.
Lily Mogler, 5, petted a piglet. Farrowing crates at Mogler Farms are larger than industry standards, a foot larger on each side, to allow sows to mov

More shoppers are demanding ethical treatment of animals

Part 3: Farmers and major food suppliers are feeling pressure from consumers to eliminate abuses.
Jack Weber drove his wheat combine on his field. The wheat doesn't bring much cash but it does improve the health of his soil.

Changing consumers igniting food revolution in Minnesota

Are you buying more organic groceries these days? You're not the only one, and our food systems are changing because of it. Demand for socially responsible options is transforming the state's grocery stores, food companies and economy

Thanksgiving travel will be busy but dry

More than 50 million people will make a road trip between Wednesday and Sunday, AAA says.
Sun Country Airlines had won the rights last year to fly from the Twin Cities to two cities in Cuba before new rules were set.

Sun Country drops plan for Cuba flights, citing politics

The local airline had rights to fly directly from MSP to Matanzas and Santa Clara, but not Havana, the country's capital.
Ken Powell will step down as board chairman of General Mills at the end of the year.

Powell's retirement will complete General Mills' chairman transition

Ken Powell, who led the food giant since 2007, will exit as board chairman at the end of the year.
A logo sign outside of a facility occupied by Cargill, Inc., in Memphis, Tennessee on February 5, 2017.

Cargill fined $10M for hiding value of swap trades

The ag giant said it also will change its customer reporting procedures after findings by CFTC. It agreed to pay the fine, but "neither admits nor denies the finding."
Hormel is buying Columbus Meats, a San Francisco-area maker of cured meats, for $850 million. The deal is Hormel's biggest.

Hormel Foods to buy deli meat maker Columbus, its largest acquisition ever

Minnesota food giant buys millennial-focused maker of artisanal deli meats for $850M.
Sun Country Airlines announced new carry-on and checked bags fees Monday — and customers will pay more to carry on than check through.

Sun Country sets bag, seat fees; carry-ons will cost the most

Passengers who book tickets for flights in the New Year will have to select between three baggage "bundles" depending on whether they want to carry-on, check or not bring luggage on a flight.
JetBlue will begin flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Boston's Logan Airport in May.

JetBlue says it will begin MSP-Boston flights starting in May

Airport officials say they worked for several years to persuade the low-fare carrier to enter the Twin Cities market.
Cargill is trying to raise labor standards and the traceability of its cocoa supply. File photo of cocoa production in Ivory Coast.

Cargill takes new steps to ensure integrity of cocoa supply

The giant agriculture processor is trying to halt child labor and deforestation practices on African farms.
Cargill reported a 14 percent jump in fiscal first quarter profit. File photo of a Cargill facility in Memphis.

Cargill's profit jumps 14 percent amid growth in beef and chocolate

Demand for beef helped Cargill overcome pressure on grains and other commodities.
Post Consumer Brands says General Mills is copying its display of bagged cereals.

Post sues General Mills over the look of bagged cereal displays

Firm says its bigger rival is taking advantage of its success in bagged cereals.
Conagra is buying Angie's Artisan Treats, the Mankato- and Minneapolis-based maker of Boomchickapop ready-to-eat popcorn products.

Conagra buys Boomchickapop maker Angie's Artisan Treats

A popcorn maker journeys from a Mankato garage into the hands of multinational conglomerate.
The Trix version with no artificial colors and flavors, left, was introduced two years ago. The new-old version, which will use some artificial colors

Vivid, colorful original Trix is returning to stores

General Mills is bringing back the original formulation of Trix, after creating one that didn't use artificial colors and flavors.
With Sun Country’s new CEO, Jude Bricker, at the helm, the airline is repositioning itself through a series of changes to its model.

Sun Country's bosses: We're still going to have a human touch

New fees, including one to use the overhead bin But more warm destinations for the leisure traveler
Brueggers Bagels and Caribou Coffee share retail space in St. Louis Park.

Caribou Coffee buys Bruegger's Bagels for undisclosed price

It's the latest in a series of rapid acquisitions for Caribou's parent company, JAB Holding Co., which also owns Panera Bread and retail brand Keurig Green Mountain.
Hormel’s Applegate brand is now offering an uncured bacon with no sugar in it.

Hormel's Applegate bacon goes sugar free

Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon will start appearing in grocery stores this month.
Sun Country Airlines new CEO Jude Bricker told employees the carrier would cut costs, add fees and seats and look to expand its network beyond relianc

Sun Country pivots to no-frills style pricing, seating on flights

Sun Country Airlines' new boss is overhauling how it operates — and customers will feel the changes, including more fees and seats, similar to Spirit Airlines, and flights beyond its Twin Cities hub.
Schwan’s Co. is taking a minority stake in Tru Shrimp Co.

Schwan's invests in large-scale shrimp operation among Minnesota cornfields

Schwan's hopes to make a splash with first big prawn farm in landlocked fields.
Muslims praying at the Islamic Center in Fort Morgan, Colo., Feb. 27, 2016. After top managers said that religious breaks would be severely curtailed,

EEOC sides with fired Muslims at Cargill meatpacking plant

The federal commission found Muslim workers were denied their rights.
John Foraker, who has led Annie's for 17 years, is stepping down.

Longtime president of Annie's organic foods John Foraker leaves to join food start-up

Foraker will leave his role at the biggest organic brand in General Mills' portfolio to pursue a new "disruptive" organic food venture.

TreeHouse Foods to close Brooklyn Park plant, idle 90

The Chicago-based foodmaker produced boxed dinners and side dishes at the site.

Cargill to buy animal feed business in southeast U.S.

The deal expands Cargill's presence in animal nutrition across southern, eastern and northeastern U.S.
General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening said his teams are positioned to take on the new consumer terrain.

General Mills' new CEO says food giant is ready to grow

Jeff Harmening, 50, steps into his new job at a time of immense challenge and change for a firm that goes back to the early days of Minneapolis.
A judge threw out a lawsuit against General Mills over its use of the word "natural" to describe oats in its Nature Valley granola bars.

Judge dismisses suit against General Mills over 'natural' oats label in granola bars

Judge found General Mills was referring to an ingredient, not the bars.
Cargill posted strong earnings gains thanks in part to growing demand for meat.

Meat fuels Cargill's surge in profits

U.S. beef consumption increased after a long decline, helping the global agribusiness giant post an 85 percent profit jump in 2017.
Sun Country planes

July 10: Sun Country names Jude Bricker as new CEO

Jude Bricker, formerly of Allegiant Air, hired after a former executive was reassigned.
Zarir Erani, shown at an April event at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, was ousted after two years as chief executive at Sun Country Airli

Sun Country Airlines CEO ousted and owner steps in

The Eagan-based airline is seeking a new president and CEO to replace Zarir Erani.
Mary Aufderheide

Paleopathology pioneer Mary Aufderheide, dead at 94, excelled in medicine and music, too

The accomplished =nurse and a professional violinist had a life defined by adventure, curiosity and an ever-expanding network of friends.
Chobani, after grabbing a major position in the U.S. yogurt market with Greek yogurt, is rolling out a traditional U.S.-style yogurt that will directl

Yogurt Wars: Chobani steps up competition with General Mills for 'classic' consumers

Yoplait's new Oui hasn't even hit store shelves yet.
General Mills finished its fiscal year with quarterly results that beat investors' expectations. Its stock rose in early trading.

After solid profit growth, General Mills will try to get sales growing again

The company's profit margin still strong despite two years of soft sales.
General Mills unveiled its newest yogurt product, Oui by Yoplait, on Monday. With it, the company hopes to regain lost market share in U.S. yogurt sal

General Mills takes the wraps off Oui, aiming to retake yogurt market

The company developed a French-style yogurt that is thicker than regular yogurt and less sour than Greek
** FILE ** In this May 17, 2007 file photo, various nutritional information labels are shown. The Food and Drug Administration is indefinitely delayin

FDA delays labeling requirements touted by Michele Obama but had drawn industry opposition

The agency said it would delay the July 2018 requirement but it didn't say until when.

Cargill to sell power and gas business to Macquarie

Cargill Inc. is selling its North America Power and Gas business to Macquarie Group, the Australian investment bank, in the second transaction between the two…
Surly Brewing owner Omar Ansari

Mpls.-based Surly goes international with foray into Canada

The Minneapolis craft-beer maker is now on tap in Winnipeg.

Cargill buys chicken company in Colombia

Bucanero adds 5,000 employees to Cargill's Latin American protein operations.
General Mills will ditch the Tiny Toast name, but the cereal lives on in Crunch line

General Mills will ditch the Tiny Toast name, but the cereal lives on in Crunch line

Launched last year, the product was General Mills' first attempt at a new cereal line in 15 years.

Hormel Foods sues Purina over 'Black Label' use in dog treats

The Austin-based food company says the pet-food company is infringing the trademark of its popular bacon line.
Hormel reported a weaker than expected quarter as it deals with an oversupply of turkey. (GLEN STUBBE/Star Tribune file photo)

Hormel earnings weaker than expected as turkey lags

The Austin-based company reported a sluggish second quarter as the marketplace faces an oversupply of turkey.
Golden Valley-based General Mills has made significant investments in the natural and organic food segment, with large acquisitions such as its $820 m

Americans are eating more organic food than ever, survey finds

The Organic Trade Association said sales of organic food and goods grew more than 8 percent last year, reaching its highest-ever level.

Jennie-O will build new facility to replace aging processing plant

The new $137 million facility in Melrose will be installed with updated food safety technology.
Hotels have become a more frequent presence around the Mall of America, and another is planned.

Developer eyes Bloomington near Mall of America for Hilton Tru brand hotel

The budget-friendly hotel has submitted plans to build near Mall of America.
Fulton releasing beer celebrating Star Tribune's 150th anniversary

Fulton releasing beer celebrating Star Tribune's 150th anniversary

Mpls. brewer will release a special beer to honor the 150th anniversary.
Delta will install four self-service lanes for the pilot program, but only one will use the facial recognition technology.

Delta to use biometrics to test MSP self-service baggage drop

Customers will need to stop at the check-in kiosk to print their bag tags. They will then move to the self-service bag drop machines where they will scan their boarding pass or face.
Sun Country is adding a flight to Aruba.

Sun Country Airlines to fly nonstop from MSP to Aruba

The Eagan-based carrier said Wednesday it will begin winter seasonal service to Aruba and Tucson in December.
Pentair CEO Randy Hogan will remain chairman of the electrical spinoff company but give up his CEO post after the split.

Pentair to split company into two separate businesses

Managed out of Golden Valley, the company will separate water, electrical operations for smoother path to growth.
Kellogg plans to lay off more than 200 people in the Twin Cities this summer. (Associated Press file photo)

Kellogg to lay off more than 200 Twin Cities workers

The cutbacks in the Twin Cities are part of the company's national cost-cutting effort.
Jeff Harmening will become CEO of General Mills next month.

General Mills announces new CEO effective June 1

Jeffrey L. Harmening, who joined General Mills 23 years ago as a marketer, on Wednesday was named chief executive, taking the lead of one of…
Jimmy John's Signage.

Sun Country will serve a Jimmy John's sub, with delivery before takeoff

The sandwich offering is part of the airline's efforts to improve its food and beverage offerings.
The Cuban flag on the deck of a floating hotel in Jardines de la Reina, a protected area south of Jucaro, Cuba.

Direct flights from Minnesota to Cuba are stuck at the gate

Sun Country plays a waiting game while President Trump's Cuba policy unfurls.

Former Cardiovascular Systems Inc. employee awarded $25 million in whistleblower lawsuit

The company will appeal the California judgment of $2.7 million for wage loss and $22.4 million in punitive damages.
On April 30th, 2014 at the Cargill feedlot in Dalhart, Texas, pen rider Donnie Messick is one of the employees responsible for managing the herd, some

Cargill is selling two cattle feedlots, exiting that portion of the beef industry

Cargill's $36.7M deal will complete its exit from this area of beef production
General Mills is seeking new leaders in its marketing department at a time of broader strategic and financial challenges for the company.

Michael Fanuele will leave General Mills as chief creative officer

Departure of the chief creative officer follows that of the top marketer in an apparent shift.
With new entrants flooding the frozen food delivery market, Schwan’s CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios hopes to reshape his business for the modern family .

Home food delivery is hot, but Minnesota's Schwan's has done it for 65 years

Home meal delivery services are hot right now, but it isn't often that Schwan's Co. is mentioned as one of the innovators in this growing space.
A couple of hundred people gathered at the State Capitol for Saturday's Tax Rally Minnesota.

Rally demanding that Trump release tax info draws crowd to State Capitol

The rally, one of many nationwide, also called for more accountability in political financing.
Guests were able to take a closer look at Mark Herman’s Lake Bemidji poster inside a Sun Country plane on Tuesday.

Sun Country to name each plane after a Minnesota lake

Sun Country Airlines passengers may soon hear "Welcome aboard Lake Minnetonka!" when boarding a plane. The Eagan-based airline is honoring its home state by naming each of its airplanes after a different Minnesota lake.

Rod Wallace, who built the Thunderbird Motel and backed Gopher football, dies at 92

One evening in the early 1960s, Rodney Wallace invited Frank Sinatra over to his home on Lake Minnetonka's St. Albans Bay. The two men "ran…
After installing $1.1 million in equipment, Surly will begin packaging its beer in 12-ounce cans.

12-ounce cans? Crafty Surly goes retro with packaging

Xtra-Citra and seasonal brew #Merica will be the first varieties to hit retail shelves in 12-ounce 12-packs, followed by its Hell, Surlyfest and the much-beloved Furious brews.
301 Inc., the venture capital arm of General Mills, is investing in Purely Elizabeth, a Boulder-based maker of granola, oatmeal, muesli and cereal tha

General Mills invests $3 million in granola maker Purely Elizabeth

Its venture capital arm sees potential in foods with health benefits.
Cargill’s GMO decision shows the challenge of appeasing customers without alienating suppliers.

How what looked like a PR win for Cargill turned into a kerfuffle

Farmers and scientists bristled when the Minnesota-based food giant agreed to have ingredients certified by a critic.

Could General Mills be a buyer for Stonyfield? Some analysts think so

Stonyfield, the large U.S. organic yogurt company, is up for sale and General Mills is considered by analysts as a potential buyer.France's Danone agreed in…
Cargill's fiscal third-quarter profit got a boost from growth in its sweetener business. File photo of cereal from a Cargill food lab made with EverSw

Chocolate, other sweeteners lifted Cargill's profit this winter

Grain and oilseeds, hampered by weather in South America, were the only weakness for the agriculture giant.
Chris Neugent, president and CEO of Post Consumer Brands, holds his favorite cereals. It has been two years since MOM Brands (Malt O Meal) merged with

Two years later, Post is settled into the home of Malt-O-Meal (and Cheerios)

Tucked into a small, beige business park in south Lakeville, the headquarters for the nation's third-largest cereal company is easy to miss.
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