Milling & Baking News - July 6, 2004 - (Page 1)

Theinewsweeklyiofigrain-basedifoods LOW-CARB product perspective JULY 6, 2004 / LOW-CARB product perspective LOW-CARB product perspective Low-carbohydrate product boom T he growth of the low-carbohydrate product category has been both startling and strong. Data from Information Resources, Inc. shows that the low-carbohydrate brand lines I.R.I. monitors have soared to $518 million in sales in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, for the 52-week period ended April 18, 2004. Indicative of the category's accelerating growth, sales in the 13 weeks ended March 28 totaled $213 million. While the future of this diet phenomenon remains uncertain, what is clear is that mainstream food companies are bringing their experience and clout to bear on this once shunned category. In the face of consumer demand for low-carbohydrate alternatives to estab- Harvested wheat acres forecast at 50.7 million acres, down 4% from '03 WASHINGTON - Harvested area of wheat in the United States in 2004 was projected at 50,706,000 acres by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its annual acreage report issued June 30. If the Department's projection is realized, farmers will harvest 2,133,000, or 4%, fewer acres than in 2003. Last year's harvested area, at 52,839,000 acres, had been a rebound from the 33-year low 45,824,000 acres in 2002 and interrupted what had been a five-year slide in harvested wheat area. The record-large harvested area for wheat was 80,642,000 acres in 1981. Harvested area for spring wheat other Continued on Page 34 Ken Powell to head key General Mills divisions; Viault to retire MINNEAPOLIS - General Mills, Inc. last week announced Kendall J. Powell has been named an executive vice-president with responsibility for General Mills' Pillsbury USA, Baking Products, Bakeries & Foodservice, and Meals divisions. In his new position, Mr. Powell will take over certain responsibilities held by Raymond G. Viault, vice-chairman, who will retire Oct. 1. Mr. Powell, 50, most recently was chief executive officer of Cereal Partners Worldwide. After struggling to achieve profitability for many years, C.P.W. results Continued on Page 28 inside lished brand name products, the industry's largest food manufacturers have taken steps to add products to established brand lines while at the same time creating new brands. With the arrival of these established companies, prices have begun to decline for what have been premium-priced products. In late April, Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. extended its Special K cereal brand into the low-carbohydrate arena with the introduction of Special K Low Carb, which began shipping in late spring. The product was launched during a low-carbohydrate segment on The View, a morning television talk show featuring five women discussing current events. As part of the first introduction of the product Continued on Page 41 LATE NEWS OMAHA - Operating profit in the food ingredients unit of ConAgra Foods, Inc., which encompasses the company's flour milling and millfeed marketing businesses, rose 223% to $60 million in the company's fiscal fourth quarter ended May 30, compared with $19 million last year. Sales in the unit increased 32% to $731 million from $553 million. ConAgra said the profit improvement reflects both a "slightly" better business environment and more efficient operations for its dehydrated, seasoning, flavoring and Continued on Page 10 Ingredients perform well at ConAgra THIS WEEK Ingredient Sara Lee closing Texas baking plants Earnings improvement at General Mills 12 17 John Klein of Bunge to university post 30 Week 57

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Milling & Baking News - July 6, 2004