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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gardenburger Mystery

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 4:18 PM


What's happened to the Gardenburger supply? You ask, I investigate. It's clear that there has been shortage of Gardenburgers (as well as their meatless patty cousins) across the United States, but there isn't an Amber Alert system for missing grocery items, which means I had to call on the shadowy figures of media relations. Dun dun Duuuuuun.

Here's what I found out:

In November of last year, Kellogg's bought Gardenburger Inc. and subsequently began work to improve the only Gardenburger plant in the U.S., located in Clearview, Utah. Sometime in May of this year, grocers and vedors, like Burgerville, began noticing abnormalities in texture and shape in the Gardenburgers they were recieving. This prompted Kellogg's to issue a voluntary recall of Gardenburger product. According to reports, construction at the Utah plant may have affected the quality of the patties, but there were no apparent safety concerns from consuming the irregular product. After the recall, the plant was taken off-line to improve product quality.

This "quality" issue and voluntary recall spooked some grocers. Fred Meyer was one of a few grocery stores to actually pull Gardenburger stock from the shelves, just in case. The lack of Gardenburgers meant that a meatless patty void needed to be filled and folks like Kraft Foods that produce Boca Burgers just have not been able to keep up with demand.

Exacerbating the whole thing, there is speculation that Gardenburger Inc. may have slowed Gardenburger production due to the impending sale to Kellogg's.

Currently, Kellogg's has the Utah plant up and running, fresh Gardenburgers should be rolling off the line as we speak. There is no telling when the Gardenburger supply will be stabilized.

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