ConAgra Grocery Products Company, formerly Hunt-Wesson Inc., has launched the CHEP pallet pool program. The company, one of the largest divisions of food marketing giant ConAgra, made the move to CHEP pallets to provide improved customer service. Products from all of the ConAgra Grocery Products divisions will be delivered on CHEP pallets to the supermarket and wholesale club classes of trade.

Product lines marketed by ConAgra Grocery Products were previously delivered via pallet exchange or slipsheets with slipsheets being utilized for most interplant movements. Limited trials on CHEP began at two distribution centers in 1998 and expanded to production a year ago. ConAgra Grocery Products has a total of 15 plants and 10 distribution centers and several co-packers throughout the United States. They will be utilizing the CHEP system at production for canned good lines and at dispatch for all other lines.

"We believe the move to CHEP will enhance our service offering to our customers across all trade channels we sell to. In addition, CHEP is a key component in an initiative to improve ConAgra Grocery Products' operational efficiencies. Our goal is to reduce handling and dwell time on deliveries, which is a win-win for our customers and us. Also, CHEP offers us one standard platform throughout the supply chain which will reduce product touches resulting in less exposure to potential product damage" said Chris Grayson, Vice President Logistics, ConAgra Grocery Products Company.

CHEP executives added that the decision by ConAgra Grocery Products to use the CHEP program completes a major piece in the CHEP network of manufacturers offering the high quality pooled pallet solution.

"We now have nearly every major grocery producer offering its customers the many benefits of the CHEP pooling program somewhere around the world, and most have offerings in several regions," added Cliff Otto, Senior Vice President of Food Industry Sales, CHEP.

"We further believe that visionary manufacturers like ConAgra Grocery Products Company and its corporate parent, ConAgra Inc., will get even bigger benefits from the CHEP global network as cross-border activity continues to increase in the coming years."

ConAgra Grocery Products well-known brands include Hunt's Tomato Products (ketchup, sauce, paste, tomatoes, pasta sauce & BBQ sauce), Manwich, Wesson Oil, Peter Pan peanut butter, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Swiss Miss cocoa & puddings, Snack Pack puddings, La Choy / Chun King Chinese foods, Healthy Choice soups & pasta sauces, Van Camp's beans, Rosarita Mexican products, and Knott's Berry Farm's jams, jellies and syrups.

ConAgra Grocery Products Company is based in Fullerton, CA. They are a division of Omaha-based ConAgra Inc. a $25 billion food company which is the largest supplier of products to Foodservice channels and the second largest supplier to retail chains.

CHEP is an international pallet and container pooling company servicing manufacturers and distributors in the consumer goods industries; grower/shippers and receivers in the produce industry; packers, processors and distributors in the meat industry; home improvement, hardware & housewares manufacturers and distributors and suppliers and assembly plants in the automotive industry. CHEP service in the Americas spans the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, supplying customers with high quality pallets and reusable containers from a comprehensive depot network. The company is part of the worldwide CHEP organization, which operates in more than 30 countries on six continents and controls more than 122 million pallets and 15 million containers. CHEP operating principles, service organization and computer tracking systems give participants a simple solution and improved efficiency in product delivery. Additional information on CHEP is available at www.chep.com.