Business Briefs

Lake Forest, Ill.-based Colborne Corp. announces the creation of Foodbotics, a new division dedicated to the design and manufacturing of Robotic Automation and Ultrasonic Cutting Systems.
Conshohocken Italian Bakery’s 54-ft. long hot dog bun recently eclipsed the previous Guinness world record by nearly 20 ft. The 32-year-old, Conshohocken, Pa.-based bakery is best known for its hoagie and submarine rolls, and when a local charity, Corvettes for Kids, asked them to bake a huge bun for an enormous hot dog, co-owners Dominic Gambone and Frank Manze agreed. The two then discovered they had an opportunity to eclipse the 35-ft. long mark for the world’s “largest bun.” The hot dog bun raised about $500 from sales of 1-ft.-long sections of the bun (filled with hot dog slices).
Continental Mills, Inc. announced its acquisition of the Pillsbury foodservice small package dry mix business from Best Brands Corp., a manufacturer and distributor of bakery products. In addition to the Pillsbury products, the Tukwila, Wash.-based company also acquired other proprietary small package dry mix product lines.
Degussa AG of Dusseldorf, Germany, has agreed to sell its food ingredients operations to Minneapolis-based Cargill for $670 million. The transaction is still contingent pending the approval of Degussa’s Supervisory Board and the relevant regulatory authorities.
The Degussa Management Board decided in August 2004 to divest its Food Ingredient business in order to provide it with the opportunity for further development into a leading global position.
Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods announced the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Royal Cake Company, Inc., a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bakery, for $10 million. The bakery will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Flowers Foods Specialty Group under the name Flowers Bakery of Winston-Salem, LLC. Sam Burnette, Royal Cake president, will continue as president of the new Flowers subsidiary. Royal Cake, with 2004 sales of $24 million, filed for bankruptcy in February 2005. The company employs about 190 people and produces cookies, cereal bars and crème-filled cakes that are sold under the Royal, Bakers Best and private-label brands.
Information Resources, Inc., (IRI) and IBM announced a strategic partnership in which IRI will deploy a complete portfolio of IBM software technologies to power its real-time market information platform, MarketKnowledge, and predictive Business Performance Management (BPM) solutions. The solutions are being driven by the needs of industry to have real-time access to critical market data and information. IBM is putting IRI’s MarketKnowledge platform in on-demand mode, enabling IRI to give customers a decision-support framework for all phases of planning, performance analysis and rapid decision making required to optimize brand management, trade promotion, and sales and operations management.
Harahan, La.-based Intralox wants customers to know that it is high and dry following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The company’s facilities are located some distance west of New Orleans and are substantially above sea level. Intralox’s corporate campus is dry and undamaged, but due to some technical difficulties accessing the area, all customer service inquiries will be handled by the company’s international outposts. Please visit for more information.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2005 noted that researchers from Ghent University found that subjecting potatoes to chilled storage temperatures set at 4°C (39.2°F) or 8°C (46.4°F), then reconditioning or treating them with sprout inhibitors and storing them again for 8, 16, or 24 weeks apparently enhanced acrylamide formation due to a strong increase in sugar reduction caused by low-temperature storage.
Schaumburg, Ill.-based Pennant Foods announced the completion of renovations and expansion of its flagship bakery facility in Northlake, Ill. The $4 million expansion has doubled plant capacity and is dedicated to the production of puff pastry.
Goodyear, Ariz.-based Poore Brothers, Inc., signed a licensing agreement with Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., for the development, manufacture and sale of snack food products under the Panda Express brand name. The agreement provides for an initial test-market term, after which the company may exercise an option for an additional five years with a renewal term thereafter. Also, Poore Brothers announced record financial results for the second quarter of 2005. Net revenues checked in at $23.3 million, 34% above the second quarter of 2004, and net income was $1.5 million. Cinnabon-brand cookies generated $2.5 million of those revenues, driven by unusually large introductory promotional orders from a large mass merchandiser, and the company’s potato chip brands rose 35% because of strong promotional activity.
Sara Lee Food & Beverage, the Chicago, Ill.-based retail division of Sara Lee Corp. announced plans to close three of its fresh bakery plants and move production to other regional plants the company operates. The closings, to take place in Birmingham, Ala., Redding, Calif., and Milwaukee, will eliminate 170 jobs.
Springfield, Ill.-based Spectrum Foods, Inc. recently established Nexcel Natural Ingredients as the operating name for its food ingredient division. The establishment of this division reflects the company’s increasing focus on the food ingredient industry, specifically within the specialty edible oil and functional soy protein businesses.
Tate & Lyle PLC chief executive Iain Ferguson and DuPont chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday, Jr. announced that construction on a new, $100 million plant in Loudon, Tenn., will create 50 new manufacturing jobs and help create a bio-based economy that will help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil by using renewable resources to make high-performance products and energy. The companies formed a joint venture to build the plant, which will use renewable resources to replace petrochemical-based products. DuPont and Tate & Lyle scientists have developed a new method to use corn to produce 1,3 propanediol (PDO). This new product, Bio-PDO, is a key ingredient in the production of DuPont Sorona, the newest DuPont polymer for clothing, carpeting, plastics and many other possible uses. The production of Bio-PDO consumes 30-40% less energy than petroleum-based PDO (on a per pound basis). Production of 100 million lbs. of Bio-PDO in the Loudon plant will save the equivalent of 10 million gallons of gasoline per year.
The impact of rising gas prices seems to be taking its toll on consumer restaurant spending. In a recent overnight study conducted by Technomic Inc., roughly 18% of consumers said they have reduced their spending in quick-service restaurants due to higher fuel costs; 19% indicated that they are cutting back spending at full-service restaurants.
Spokane, Wash.-based Commercial Creamery Co. has broken ground on the third expansion in three years at its manufacturing and spray drying facility in Jerome, Idaho. The addition of four new blending bays will boost production capacity to meet increased product demand.