Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Questions linger despite FDA whole grain guidance

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took the first step toward clarifying whole grain labeling confusion by issuing draft guidance on what the term “whole grain” may include. Although the guidance answered some questions, it did not provide the food industry with the comprehensive labeling guidelines that the industry has been requesting. In fact, the guidance only offers nonbinding recommendations that are not to be implemented.

Although the baking industry eagerly waited for any type of whole grain guidance, many in the industry say FDA's first attempt at defining whole grain labeling issues is much ado about nothing. For starters, FDA's first attempt to define the term "whole grain" closely resembles other generally accepted whole grain definitions published from associations such as the American Association of Cereal Chemists and the Whole Grains Council. In addition, FDA's labeling recommendations simply reinforce what bakers already know, but often choose not to practice.

For example, the most controversial whole grain labeling issue, descriptor levels, was not tackled. FDA reinforced its position that these descriptors, such as "high" or "excellent source," should not be used to describe whole grain content, but FDA did not offer any guidance on when, or if, descriptor levels would be defined.

Labeling regulations allow bakers to make factual statements about whole grain content, such as "10 grams of whole grains," as long as the statements are not false or misleading. In addition, bakers may use a qualified health claim relating to whole grains and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, if products meet certain FDA requirements.

Response from industry associations ranged from positive to neutral.

"Surveys are clear that consumers want to eat more whole grain, but are bewildered by the clutter of whole grain claims in advertisements and on packaging," said K. Dunn Gifford, Oldways' president and a co-founder of Whole Grains Council.

The Whole Grains Council's stamp program flies in the face of FDA's implicit regulations forbidding the use of descriptor levels. FDA sent a letter to the Whole Grains Council advising that "food labels bearing these stamps could be misbranded." However, Whole Grains Council assured its members that FDA said that any determination about the stamps will be made on a case-by-case basis, and on the merits of whether the descriptors are misleading.

One of the more surprising items to come out of FDA's whole grain guidance is the singling out of whole grain pizza crusts and bagels. According to FDA, pizza crusts and bagels that are labeled "whole grain" or "whole wheat," should entirely be made with whole grain flours or whole wheat flours.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Chateau-Animaux Acquires Zanadoo and Co Inc., Gourmet Dog Biscuit Manufacturer

Chateau-Animaux announced it has purchased the working assets of Zanadoo and Co Inc., “maker of tasty doggie treats baked only with the best ingredients for a healthy life.”

Based in Vancouver, Washington, Zanadoo and Co has been making its all-natural dog treats for over five years, with national distribution through independent pet stores. Available in five varieties – Cheese, Italian Oregano, Peanut Butter, Apple and Variety Pack – the biscuits are made using human grade ingredients and are wheat, corn and soy free, making them both flavorful and good for dogs, particularly those with food allergies. The cookies are also free of chemical preservatives, flavor enhancers and artificial colors.

Washington, DC’s Chateau-Animaux had previously contracted with Zanadoo in formulating its own line of dog biscuits, known as Chateau-Animaux Diamonds, or “Diamants.” “Taking over the Zanadoo line was natural fit for us,” says Chateau-Animaux President, Dennis Bourgault. “We believe in the product and combining the brands will create great synergy and potential for growth.”

Chateau-Animaux has already released a new biscuit flavor not previously offered in the Zanadoo line – Ginger Snap Diamonds. The Company also indicated another all-natural formula is under development for release this summer. In addition, Chateau-Animaux plans to change the biscuit line’s labeling and packaging, with all information in both French and English, reflecting the Company’s distinct Franco-American brand.

Chateau-Animaux plans to offer a “show special” to stores through its local distributor, Grateful Dog (Pennsylvania), at the upcoming H.H. Backer Pet Industry Trade Show in Atlantic City in April. The Company is also looking for additional distributors to expand product availability. Retail stores not currently able to purchase through local distributors are now able to get the product direct from the Company or through

Chateau-Animaux was founded by partners Dennis Bourgault and Michael Suddath in 1994. For over ten years, the business operated across from the historic Eastern Market in Washington, DC. In 2005, the Company moved to the award-winning Barracks Row Main Street, a thriving commercial area on Capitol Hill at 8th Street, SE, running south of Pennsylvania to the Navy Yard. The store, now the largest independent pet supply retailer in Washington, specializes in natural pet products, unique pet supplies and gifts. It also has live fish and aquarium products, offers pet grooming services, and a self-service dog wash. It provides home delivery services, partners with World of Ruff to offer dog training “Canine Good Citizen” classes, and hosts cat and dog adoptions regularly. The store also sells worldwide via the company’s website,


For additional information, contact:

Dennis P. Bourgault, Esq.
524 8th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Work: 202-544-8710
Cell: 202-679-2211

Thursday, March 16, 2006

McDonald's debut of premium coffee stirs up rivals

Coffeehouse marketers gave drinkers a free jolt of java Wednesday, marking the start of an all-out war in the $8.3 billion business of beans and ready-to-drink caffeine concoctions.

Starbucks (SBUX) and Dunkin' Donuts are brewing for a battle over McDonald's (MCD) national rollout of its premium roast coffee, the fast-food giant's much-anticipated entry into the premium coffee business.

"This is the cola wars of the 2000s," says John Gilbert, vice president of marketing at Dunkin' Donuts, the 4,500-store chain based in Randolph, Mass. "It's been coming for a while."

To get consumers to wake up and smell their brands, Starbucks poured an estimated half-million 12-ounce cups of coffee at its 7,500 stores nationwide and Dunkin' Donuts provided free taxi rides in Boston and New York and sample shots of its Hot Turbo coffee, a regular cup with a shot of espresso.

The brands are vying for their fix of the premium coffee business, which is expected to reach about $19 billion in the next five years, according to sales tracker Mintel. Convenience store giant 7-Eleven boosted its coffee program last year with new flavors and resealable cups. And on April 3, beverage giant Coca-Cola (KO) will launch Coca-Cola Blak, a Coke-and-coffee combination.

McDonald's, with 13,700 U.S. locations, wants its share. "One of the primary ways people select where they buy coffee is location," says Mintel market analyst Bill Hulkower. "If it's faster and easier to get coffee at a McDonald's drive-through, then the Starbucks brand may not be as powerful."

But the Seattle-based chain behind the nation's coffee craze is ready for the battle. "It's a reflection that customers are demanding great coffee, something Starbucks has been doing for 30 years," says Brad Stevens, vice president of marketing for Starbucks, which promoted the giveaway in newspaper and radio ads in 12 cities.

At least one Starbucks fan is unlikely to make the switch. "I don't frequent McDonald's," says Stephen Lubben, 34, a law professor from Hoboken, N.J., as he sipped a grande, three-shot, non-fat latte Wednesday. "The fact they make good coffee isn't going to change that."
McDonald's will still try. Coupons in last Sunday's papers can be redeemed for a free 12-ounce serving of the 100% Arabica coffee through April 12.

"This is a great opportunity to deliver a premium cup of coffee at a great value," says Danya Proud, McDonald's spokeswoman. "It complements our existing breakfast menu lineup."

Hulkower adds that food choice will influence decisions. "It will depend on whether people want an Egg McMuffin with their coffee, or a cranberry muffin."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Krispy Kreme Names CEO; Shares Jump

Food industry veteran Daryl G. Brewster has been hired as chief executive and president of doughnut chain Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., the company said Tuesday.

Brewster, who will also join Krispy Kreme's board, previously served as president of the North American snacks and cereals business of Kraft Foods Inc.

Shares soared more than 20% on the news, closing at $7.71.

"I'm very excited to come here," Brewster said in a telephone interview from the company's headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C. "This is a storied brand that will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year."

Stephen Cooper, the company's interim CEO since January 2005 and chairman of turnaround firm Kroll Zolfo Cooper, has been named chief restructuring officer, Krispy Kreme said.

Once the darling of Wall Street, Krispy Kreme ran into trouble in May 2004, when the company warned of a coming earnings drop it blamed on the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets. The company's stock sank.

The stock plunge began a downward spiral that led to store closings, the ouster of longtime CEO Scott Livengood and the hiring of Cooper to try to revive the company. A report by a special committee of independent directors blamed Livengood and former Chief Operating Officer John Tate for most of the company's problems, saying they tried to "manage earnings" to meet Wall Street expectations.

In a statement, Chairman Jim Morgan said Brewster "brings with him not only a wealth of practical know-how, but also a solid understanding of the opportunities, as well as the challenges, currently facing Krispy Kreme."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The new buzz word "WHOLE GRAIN" and how long will it last!

Whole grain stamp maintains momentum

"Health concern among Americans is always present, but consumers are always looking for the 'new'," said Joe Derochowski of the NPD Group.
Derochowsky presented his company's consumer research on American eating habits during the "Getting Whole Grains to 3" conference held last month in Orlando, Fla. The "newness" factor boosted the whole grains cause last year with the introduction of the revised USDA food guidelines.

One year after the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommended Americans increase their whole grain consumption to at least three servings a day, sales and production of whole grains have climbed steadily. Whole grain bread sales, for example, are up 18 percent, according to the Whole Grains Council, which organized the conference with Oldways Preservation Trust.

The new challenge for bakeries and others in the whole grains business will be maintaining the momentum gained by the USDA's recommendations. The conference addressed how food manufacturers, purveyors and government organizations have encouraged whole grain consumption. Currently, only 13 percent of Americans consume the recommended three servings, said Eric Hentges, Executive Director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion. To help consumers identify whole grain foods, the Whole Grains Council developed stamps for food manufacturers and restaurants to promote their whole grain products. Nearly 600 products now carry the stamp, reported Cynthia Harriman, the council's director of food and nutrition strategies. Breads and bagel products carry the stamp more than any other food group