Milling & Baking News - December 4, 2007 - (Page 1)

THE NEWS WEEKLY OF GRAIN-BASED FOODS DECEMBER 4, 2007 / Dryness across southern Plains generates early worries for 2008 Another new mill for Mennel Company completes second 'greenfield' project in two years with the opening of a 10,000-cwt milling facility in Roanoke, Va. Story on Page 23 LATE NEWS Grains remain 'hot' items on menus WASHINGTON - While bite-size desserts topped the list when it comes to favorite restaurant menu courses, several grain-based foods items also found favor in the "What's Hot & What's Not 2007 Chef Survey." The Internet survey of 1,282 members of the American Culinary Federation was conducted in October and asked chefs to rate items as "hot," "cool/passé," or "perennial favorite." Eighty-three per cent of respondents ranked bite-size desserts as hot, followed by locally-grown produce (81%), organic produce (75%), small plates/tapas/mezze (73%) and Continued on Page 10 KANSAS CITY - New crop Kansas City wheat crop generally was in excellent wheat futures priced near $7.50 a bu and shape with the approach of winter, setting new contract highs last week the hard winter wheat crop was strugreflected market worries over deFading hopes for relief clining crop con(Kansas City wheat futures March 2008 versus July 2008) ditions across the $9.50 hard winter wheat March belt. Extreme dryJuly ness in some key $8.50 producing areas in the southern Plains $7.50 raised concerns over 2008 produc$6.50 tion at a time when Oct. Nov. the U.S. all-wheat Recent strength in 2008 crop contracts has frustrated 2007 ending stocks for baker hopes for price relief in the new crop year. 2007-08 were projected to be the lowest since 1949 and gling, particularly in Texas and Oklaworld wheat stocks were the tightest in homa but also in western Kansas and decades. western Nebraska. The U.S. Department of Agriculture The Texas crop was rated 53% poor to on Nov. 26 issued its final compos- very poor, 36% fair and only 11% good ite winter wheat condition ratings of at the end of November. The rating was the season. While the soft red winter Continued on Page 13 per bu FEATURE Climbing the charts Brand building, unique products spur cracker category growth At $3.5 billion in total dollar sales, the U.S. cracker industry is slightly larger than the cookie category and about half the size of the ready-to-eat cereal segment. But measured by sales growth over the past year, crackers clearly are a cut above. According to Information Resources, Inc., Chicago, dollar sales of crackers in the 52 weeks ended Sept. 9 totaled $3,517,156,000, up 2.5% from the same period a year earlier. This compared with year-over-year dollar sales growth of 0.2% for R.-T.-E. cereal and a decline of 0.5% for cookies. Crackers also sustained the smallest year-over-year decline in unit sales among the big three grain-based foods categories, easing 0.4%, which compared with declines of 0.9% and 3.4% in R.-T.-E. cereal and cookies, respectively. Category leader Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill., suffered a slight setback in dollar sales during the period, falling 0.4% to $1,634,518,000. But certain products performed well enough to give Kraft optimism going forward. Revenue growth of Nabisco 100-calorie packs was 51% in the third quarter, while the company's toasted chips platform grew 18%, said Tim McLevish, executive vice-president and chief financial Continued on Page 31

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Milling & Baking News - December 4, 2007