ATCHISON, Kan., June 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A unique line of wood-based biopolymer composites produced by MGP Ingredients, Inc. (Nasdaq:MGPI) has gained increased significance with the merger of Colorado-based Sprig Toys, Inc. and major toy and game manufacturer WHAM-O, Inc. earlier this year. Called Sprigwood™, the proprietary material is a durable, child-safe bio-composite that MGPI began manufacturing exclusively for Sprig in Sept. 2009. Sprigwood is used to produce an innovative line of battery-free, kid-powered preschool toys that are now part of the new WHAM-O® Jr. division.

As announced in a joint news release issued by WHAM-O and Sprig in February, the strategic partnership between the two companies will enable Sprig's eco-friendly specialty line to be offered on a greater scale and will give WHAM-O access to Sprig's proprietary material.  In addition to Sprig's award-winning products such as the Dolphin Explorer Boat and Eco-Trucks, the WHAM-O Jr. division includes WHAM-O's inflatables and outdoor play products.

"Green materials like Sprigwood are the future of consumer products," said Kyle Aguilar, chief executive officer of WHAM-O. "Together with our commitment to return manufacturing of many WHAM-O toys to the United States in the coming years, the ability to make products from Sprigwood goes a long way toward our goal of reducing WHAM-O's carbon footprint and helping preserve the planet for our children."

The Sprigwood material comes from MGPI's Terratek® WC line of biopolymers, which combine fine wood particles with recycled plastic materials to create firm, smooth pellets for convenient handling and further processing into multiple types of finished products. The biopolymers are produced at the company's facility in Onaga, Kan., where MGPI also manufactures its environmentally-friendly Terratek® SC line of wheat starch-based biopolymers, which have applications in the production of both pliable and hard plastic type products, including partially and fully degradable tableware, golf tees and key cards.

"MGP Ingredients is very excited to have a key part in the process of delivering innovative, eco-friendly products to the marketplace such as those offered under the Sprig brand," said Tim Newkirk, MGPI president and chief executive officer. "The creativity and commitment demonstrated by Sprig and WHAM-O in further developing this line and expanding its availability to consumers is commendable. We applaud their environmentally-driven ingenuity and are proud to have a role in supporting their current and future achievements."

Robin Caudle, general manager of MGPI's Onaga facility, echoed Newkirk's comments, adding, "This is truly a winning situation for all parties, including children and their parents who have an enhanced opportunity to add to their recreational activities while simultaneously helping the environment."             

MGPI's Terratek® WC biopolymers can contain up to 60 percent wood particles obtained from wood reclamation resources, as well as unused materials generated by lumber manufacturers. This reduces dependence on petroleum-based plastic materials while also promoting the use of recycled wood. Additionally, in various product applications, the plastic materials that are used can be obtained from post-industrial or post-consumer recycling sources, further reducing the need for more plastic resin derived directly from petroleum and increasing the use of reclaimed materials.

About MGP Ingredients®

In business since 1941, MGP Ingredients, Inc. is a recognized pioneer in the development and production of natural grain-based ingredients, alcohol products and plant-based biopolymers for the branded packaged goods industry. The Company is headquartered in Atchison, Kan., and has production facilities there and in Onaga, Kan. that utilize the latest technologies to assure high quality products and to maintain efficient production and service capabilities.

About Sprig™

Sprig Toys, Inc. is an eco-friendly toy company dedicated to infusing creativity, smart design, quality manufacturing, earth-friendly materials, product satisfaction and responsible business practices into a superior line of fun, kid-powered toys. Founded in 2007 by a trio of award-winning toy industry veterans with a collective desire to keep kids active and the planet healthy, Sprig has amassed multiple awards and honors for its innovative line of battery-free and paint free toys made from Sprigwood™, a proprietary bio-composite of recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. Sprig's eco-friendly products are sold online and in specialty retailers in North America and Europe. For more information, please visit .

About WHAM-O®

WHAM-O, Inc., founded in 1948, has created some of the most innovative and imaginative toys for more than 60 years. Beginning with the WHAM-O® Slingshot, WHAM-O's toys, such as the Original Frisbee® Disc, Slip 'N Slide®, Hula Hoop® and Hacky Sack®, have captured the imagination of generations and have become legendary. WHAM-O designs and manufactures a core of more than 70 captivating products, which, along with its MOREY® and BZ® Bodyboards, CHURCHILL® Fins and Riva® Snowboards, are carried by virtually every toy, sporting goods and mass retailer in the world. For more information, please visit or call (510) 596-4270.
CONTACT:  MGP Ingredients          Steve Pickman          (913) 367-1480           WHAM-O/Sprig          Tami Kelly          (925) 640-9997