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Published: Friday, 7/25/2008

White Lily flour's new owners transplant packaging to Toledo


White Lily flour, a staple of Southern baking revered for its silky texture, has been transplanted from its longtime milling factor in Knoxville, Tenn., into two Ohio facilities.

J.M. Smucker Co. purchased the company in 2006 from milling company C.H. Guenther & Son Inc. of Texas. At the end of May, milling operations were transferred to an unidentified Ohio plant and packaging to Multifoods Manufacturing Inc. on Laskey Road in Toledo.

"Our company takes a look at strong regional brands that have a presence in the baking aisle and fit nicely with our product line," said Maribeth Badertscher, Smucker spokesman.

At the end of June, C.H. Guenther closed the Knoxville factory that had turned out White Lily flour for the past 125 years.

White Lily has distribution networks throughout the country, but it is predominantly a Southern regional brand.

"It's a very important staple to Southerners," said Bill Morris, professor of food science and technology at the University of Tennessee.

White Lily flour is milled exclusively from soft red winter wheat, which makes for lighter, fluffier biscuits and cakes. The low-protein, low-gluten wheat is sifted longer and ground more finely than other brands.

Said Ms. Baderstcher: "We were looking at a variety of variables, and we really wanted to restore the brand to its historic standard of excellence."

Multifoods Manufacturing in Toledo also produces baking mixes for Pillsbury and Hungry Jack.

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