Our 2008 report highlighted our strengthened portfolio strategy as we continued to shed our non-core assets and focused our efforts in areas where we had true competitive advantages. “Focused to Win,” captured our belief in the power of a focused food company. In 2008, we advanced our portfolio thinking further and identified three core areas of focus where we believed we were positioned to be world-class competitors: Simple Meals, where we were heavily anchored in soup; Baked Snacks, where we were heavily anchored in cookies and crackers; and, Healthy Beverages, where we were heavily anchored in vegetable-based beverages.
As we increased our resource focus in these areas, we completed the sale of Godiva Chocolatier and reported continued progress against our action standards for winning in the marketplace and winning in the workplace. In fact, for the first time we were proud to highlight that we had achieved a world-class level of employee engagement. Another important advancement was the incorporation of a “powerful commitment to corporate social responsibility” in our core strategies.
2008 was also the year where the worldwide economic challenges began to impact the food industry. We persevered through the year with solid growth, but it was increasingly clear that things were only going to become more challenging in the years ahead.