Kraft Stole Idea For "Bagelfuls" From "Bagelers"

As several readers have pointed out, Kraft’s new “Bagelfuls” (aka Bagel Twinkies) are not without precedent: A small New York company has been making the same thing, called “Bagelers,” since at least 2003. As depicted in the picture at left, (the company tried to make a splash at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards, scoring pictures and other stars on the red carpet holding boxes of Bagelers. Why it takes $100 million to steal someone’s idea is an answer best left to the masters of corporate America.

PREVIOUSLY: Kraft Invents The Twinkie Of Bagels: “Bagelfuls”

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  1. That’s hot.

  2. Why it takes $100 million to steal someone’s idea is an answer best left to the masters of corporate America.

    It’s a trifling thing, but Kraft expects to pull in $100 million in revenue on someone else’s idea: “Kraft told analysts last month that the product would surpass the $100 million mark in sales “within the next few years.'” [www.brandweek.com]

    But to get to the meat of your question, I think this is the question the corporation asks: Is it cheaper and/or faster to buy the idea or to steal it? Apple, for example, considers this question often:

    Steal: Dashboard (see Konfabulator)
    Buy: iTunes (see SoundJam MP)

    • Michael Walker says:

      @Michael Belisle:

      To be fair Apple did kind of get rear ended by idea theft when they were first popping up (not to say they weren’t doing it at the same time).

      Maybe it’s Apples new wave psuedo kharma? :) Beats me.

  3. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I can’t wait to hear Kraft’s public response. Let me see if I can take a crack at it:

    At Kraft Foods Inc., new cheese technology is one of our of most cherised areas of innovation. While we respect that other manufacturers may allege creation of myriad cheese products, Kraft has spent many years perfecting the process of creating a delightful bagel product filled with…

    OK, that’s it. I just can’t write anymore.

  4. Moosehawk says:

    I said it before
    I’ll say it again

    I don’t know what you guys are talking about, they look fucking tasty

  5. warloc66 says:

    I don’t even want to imagine what Paris was planning on doing with those Bagelers.

  6. MercuryPDX says:

    @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: “We take the sale and manufacture of tasty bagel snacks very seriously…”

  7. MercuryPDX says:

    @warloc66: Why imagine? I’m sure there’s a grainy video shot in night vision on the internet somewhere..

  8. It’s always the little guys that have to put up the biggest fight. Screw Kraft.

  9. @warloc66:

    Where’s the cream filling?

  10. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Kraft keeps on putting plastic in their foods, but at least they stopped claiming to be “all natural.”

    See [consumerist.com]

  11. windycitygirl68 says:

    I showed this to my 12-year-old son, who has been enjoying Bagelers for 5 years. Even the kid thinks that Kraft is full of colossal gall for blatantly ripping off the Bageler. Shame on you, Kraft. He says he may boycott – gasp – macaroni and cheese (in the blue box, of course).

  12. MBZ321 says:

    Something about this just seems gross to me…I think it is the whole heating of cream cheese aspect that kind of makes me feel ill. I know I spread cream cheese on a warm bagel, but it feels much more “edible”.

  13. badhatharry says:

    Using Paris Hilton to shill Bagelers is an interesting choice. That skank will put anything in her mouth.

  14. krunk4ever says:

    I’m not sure why you’re calling it stealing… There are tons of generics for all types of cookies (i.e. Nilla Wafers) and other crap. It’s not like it’s illegal to have a similar food concepts or else you’d think there’d be only 1 pizza parlor in this whole country (or even world).

    As long as you don’t infringe on the name, I believe you’re okay.

  15. ChuckECheese says:

    Rather than having stolen the idea, it’s possible that Kraft is making its bagel boluses under license from Bagelerses. Maybe Kraft can clear this up for us.

  16. KogeLiz says:

    I also don’t believe this is ‘stealing’.
    I mean, it’s not exactly a TOTALLY AMAZING creation we’re talking about.
    I mean, it’s like a lot of things:

    Bagel Pizzas,
    Hot Pocket style foods,
    Pizza Rolls,
    String Cheese,
    Ice Cream Sandwiches,
    cola,
    those cheap .25 snack cakes,
    etc etc

  17. MercuryPDX says:

    @KogeLiz: It’s a “Homage”. ;)

  18. gig says:

    I am not surprised. I would not eat any product made by Kraft. This company basically flips the FDA and the consumer the bird by continuing to use MPC (Milk Protein Concentrate), an imported ingredient that is not considered milk at all. It is illegal to use MPC in labeling a cheese, it has not been tested for human safety and it is not an approved ingredient in the US. Yet Kraft continues to use it because it is cheaper than real dairy products, is a filler and sounds like a real food product.

    They import it under industrial or pharmaceutical labels because it really isn’t food at all to avoid the dairy trade limits set by the WTO. Since it isn’t real dairy they get away with it. But they use it in their products to make people think it is an actual milk product. They were warned by the FDA to stop. In response they changed the description of their cheese from cheese food to cheese product and they use the word “Cheez” in their whiz to avoid calling it cheese which would be illegal but they still described it as a cheese dip. They are masters of advertising and duping the public into thinking their products are actually food. Blech!! Google Milk Protein Concentrate Kraft FDA and see for yourself.

  19. Falconfire says:

    @Michael Belisle: Konfabulator stole the idea from Apple (the creator even admitted this before Apple started talking about Dashboard), who then stole it back later. And they ALL stole it from Alto so the point is moot.

  20. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    @krunk4ever:

    I’m not a patent lawyer but it could very much could be stealing. It depends on whether or not Bagelers patented their creation of a bagel sold pre-filled with cream cheese.

    And then if Kraft wanted to fight back, they’d have to try and find “prior art” – that is, examples of other similar creations that make Bagelers a non-unique invention (your argument).

    And then’s myriad other legal things you could fight about. Does Kraft use a similar technology to bake-and-fill their cream cheese? How did they develop it?

    Think about the ridiculous (and extremely successful) Uncrustables brand. I am going to guess that the reason you don’t see blatant rip-offs of this product is because Smuckers patented the heck out of it. They didn’t invent PBJ sandwiches, but they did create a new product.

  21. @Falconfire: In one interpretation, yes. The idea may not have been original, but the implementation was eerily similar: If there had been a software patent on Konfabulator’s embodiment of widgets (which there wasn’t), Dashboard almost certainly would have infringed on it. There are other notable examples like the iTunes interface (which Apple settled).

    Regardless, the point is that it’s there’s a tradeoff between “stealing” an idea or licensing/acquiring it. Starbucks probably could have designed a Clover-like device. But it was a better deal to acquire the design and name.

    And there’s nothing wrong with this sort of stealing. It’s standard practice as pointed out by krunk4ever. You can’t patent a bagel filled with cream cheese. (You could, however, patent a method for filling a bagel with cream cheese….)

  22. @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: There are a many patents for bagel-filling methods. Kraft applied for one in 2004.

    So Good concluded its investigation to uncover the true inventor a month ago. The first suspect was Bagelers:

    Are Bagel-ers popular? Is this an instance of Kraft trying to piggyback off of, or improve upon, the success of an existing product? Or did they have no idea this competing product existed?

    But that’s not the beginning. Before Bagelers there was the Unholey Bagel. And before that, there was the Bagel Ball. Oh and the Bagel Stick is also in there somewhere.

    Although we may never know the full story, evidence points to Alvin Burger.

    Kraft to Fill Bagels With Creamy White Substance [So Good]
    Kraft Bagel-Ful Not So Unique? [So Good]
    A Brief History of the Cream Cheese Filled Bagel [So Good]

  23. @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: Oh and 6,004,496 (“Sealed crustless sandwich” aka “Crustables”) was found to be obvious in the end.

    You may resume using your home sandwich maker now, without fear of a lawsuit.

  24. Namrepus says:

    I swear to god I had something like this in the mid 90’s and it wasn’t either company that made it… Dunno where or who I got it from.

  25. JollyJumjuck says:

    If it was the small company who “stole” this idea from Kraft, you can bet that Kraft would have their lawyers working overtime to try and shut down the small company. Alas, because it is the large corporation that is in the wrong, they will most likely get away with it.

  26. mammalpants says:

    typo in your headline!

    bagelful, not bageful..

  27. acknight says:

    @Michael Belisle: Not quite on the Dashboard/Konfabulator.

    They work in entirely different ways, and are both based on the Desk Accessories concept that Apple used up to the System 6/7 days…

  28. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Kraft used to own Lender’s Bagels.
    It was sold of at least five years ago.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they had tried this & decided against it at the time.
    If anyone has a suit against Kraft, it would be Pinnacle Foods, the current owner of Lender’s.
    Pinnacle could accuse Kraft of using proprietary info Kraft sold to Pinnacle when Kraft sold Lender’s.

  29. whitjm5 says:

    I’d do her.

  30. chrismar says:

    @Isabelle15: Kraft is in 98% of US households. I think you’d be amazed at the # of brands and products they have. That said, I bet at least 1 Kraft product would be found in your house.

    I am not disputing or disagreeing with what you say, but based on the statistics I bet you are eating Kraft products and don’t even know it. ;)

  31. SoGood says:

    Michael, thanks for acknowledging the investigative work I did on this more than a month ago.

    I wrote 5 posts in February and March about the Bagelfuls:

    [www.sogoodblog.com]

    I specifically looked into the history of similar products, as well as investigating who held the patents for the production process needed to make these, as well as the idea itself.

    Additionally, I spoke with some corporate representatives at Kraft who assured me they had all the necessary patents/legal requirements in place.

  32. Grandjester says:

    WTF are you all on about? NOT A NEW IDEA, BOTH ARE RIPOFFS.

    Bagel Dogs people! Since 1943!

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  33. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    Mo@Michael Belisle: Between all your posts, I can’t follow your point.

    My point was and is that it isn’t simple to look at two products like this and say it’s stealing or not stealing. As you and I both pointed out, there are a lot of factors.

    As far as some people who feel that a cream cheese filled bagel is “obvious” – I don’t really know. What is obvious? Is “device that plays and stores music” obvious or is it an iPod? People made MP3 players before Apple, but you can’t make a device that acts and looks just like an iPod.

    I for one have never seen a bagel product pre-filled with cream cheese and I think most people saying “psshawww, obvious” probably never saw one either. It’s easy to label an invention obvious after you’ve seen it.

    Obviously.

  34. trujunglist says:

    @Michael Belisle:

    Most people know by now that Konfabulator was based off of an older, Apple created application.

    SJ 2.0 was the shit. Too bad Apple ruined it (and then made their ruining better eventually).

  35. @Seth_Went_to_the_Bank: My apologies for multiposting. If only there was some of thing called a “thread” or an “edit button”.

    To summarize:

    12:30 AM: Idea swiping is common. The Dashboard/Konfabulator example sucked, but there are others.

    01:23 AM: Bagel Ball was the first, circa 1990. Alvin Burger invented it, along with a variation called a Bagel Stick. See A brief history of the cream-filled bagel.

    01:55 AM: The 1999 patent on Crustables was found to be obvious; the patent was cancelled.

  36. FrankTheTranq says:

    I live near a Kraft plant in Illinois. I guarantee you would NOT want to eat a single Kraft product (or Kraft singles for that matter) after you get a whiff from that place. It smells like death!

  37. jabc says:

    Hey everyone. Sorry guys, but this is all wrong. I’m surprised the company itself hasn’t addressed this yet, but Kraft didn’t steal the idea. I’m in contact with family of the owner of Bagelers and they sold it to Kraft, who decided to rename it restart production.