Monday, June 14, 2010

Muffin Maker Miffed as Secrets Walk

Chris Botticella knows the secret to those "nooks and crannies" in Thomas' English Muffins — the way they cradle butter and jam, and after a good toasting, produce just the right crunch.

It's a secret that the muffins' makers have gone to great lengths to protect over 75 years, allowing it to rack up $500 million in sales annually of the toaster treats.

The company says only seven executives know all three parts of its winning formula for making the muffins — including how much dough to use, the right amount of moisture and the proper way to bake them.

So it became alarmed and sued in January when Botticella, one of the trusted seven, decided to bolt and join rival Hostess, maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies.

...lawyers say Botticella hid his new employment deal for months while attending high-level Bimbo meetings and debating strategies for competing with Hostess. They also accuse him of copying a dozen files onto a USB thumb drive in his final days, a charge he denies. (more)