A Cronut, in case you were wondering, is a cross between a doughnut and a croissant, produced by French pastry chef Dominique Ansel and sold at his bakery in Manhattan.
Invented in May, the desserts are selling at Ansel’s bakery, like, well, hot cakes.
Even at $5 each, customers are lining up two hours before the bakery opens to buy them, with sales now limited to two per person.
For the past two weeks customers of Migros supermarkets in Zurich and Lucerne have also been able to buy Cronuts, produced by the chain’s Jowa bakery.
But Ansel, who trademarked the Cronut in the US but not in Switzerland, is reportedly unhappy with the Swiss development.
“We were made aware that Migros copied our creation and stole our name,” Ansel's bakery said a statement reported by Swiss media.
The statement described the move as “shocking,” adding that “Migros should know better than to steal from the culinary creativity of a baker, who invested much time and effort in his creations.”
The statement added that the bakery intended to register the Cronut brand in Switzerland.
But Migros said it filed to protect the name “cronut” in Switzerland on July 25th under Swiss commercial laws, Le Matin newspaper reported online on Tuesday.
“Mr. Ansel did not protect the name and does produce the pastry in our country,” the cooperative group said.
“If the Dominique Ansel bakery wants to register the brand we will oppose it.”
Heike Zimmermann, spokesman for the Jowa bakery, a Migros subsidiary, acknowledged that two employees travelled to New York to sample Ansel’s Cronuts.
But Zimmerman told Le Matin that Jowa had developed its own recipe .
“There isn't a formula that we could simply reproduce,” he said.
“It was necessary for us to experiment a lot to find the perfect recipe.”
Zimmermann added that the response from customers has been extremely positive and “the supply is sold out practically every day”.
The Cronuts sell for 3.50 or 4.50 francs, depending on the topping.
At the moment, 12 bakers at Jowa are producing 1,600 Cronuts a week, Tamedia's Newsnet reported.