Frederick C. Kulow, an independent businessman who successfully grew 11 ventures focusing primarily on nutrition and natural products, died Dec. 2, 2004, at his home in New London, N.H. He was 79.
Over the years, the companies he developed in the United States included Health from the Sun, Borlind of Germany, All Terrain, Bioriginal Food & Science, Bee Pollen from England, and Sanhelios. Mr. Kulow also pioneered many natural products categories including essential fatty acids and bee pollen/propolis. Internationally oriented, his companies imported products from Germany, France, Canada, England, Denmark, Switzerland and Bermuda.
Even with all the product and company pioneering that Mr. Kulow did, his greatest contribution to the natural foods industry was probably his landmark victory over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerning the ability to sell essential fatty acids. The FDA tried to argue that EFAs (e.g., evening primrose oil, flax oil, borage oil, black currant oil and combinations) were unapproved food additives. Mr. Kulow successfully challenged the FDA?s position in court cases that lasted seven years. The FDA even tried to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its losses in the appellate courts and the federal courts. Mr. Kulow?s victory was so significant that language was even added to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act forbidding the FDA from using the ?unapproved additive? argument to try to regulate dietary supplements.
A former chairman of the Supply Side of the Natural Nutritional Foods Association and a former member of its boards of directors, Mr. Kulow had retired from day-to-day management but remained active in business. He continued to serve on the board of directors of Borlind of Germany, All Terrain and Bioriginal Food & Science until his death.
Born in Milwaukee, Wis., he received his bachelor?s degree from Duke University and attended the graduate school of business administration at Harvard University, as well as the marketing management program at Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1955, earning numerous honors, including the Navy E. He reached the rank of lieutenant commander before his retirement.
Mr. Kulow had an extensive corporate career before launching his own companies. He was group president of Ward Foods Inc. in New York City; president and chief executive officer of Educator Biscuit Co. Inc. in Lowell, Mass.; corporate group vice president for Fairmont Foods Co. Inc. in Lowell; corporate group vice president for Fairmont Foods Co. in Omaha, Neb.; national sales manager for Pepperidge Farm Inc. in Norwalk, Conn.; and sales manager for Continental Baking Co. in Rye, N.Y.
A skilled athlete in his youth, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Senators. He coached baseball and basketball teams while in the Navy, winning many fleet championships, but he was proudest of the years of coaching his son?s Little League teams. Coaching, teaching and mentoring others were important to him.
He taught business at St. Joseph?s College and worked closely with his employees to develop their talents and expertise. He was active in the New London Rotary Club, serving as chairman of international service. He was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church in New London, N.H., and previously of the First Parish Church in Weston, Mass., where he had served on the senior church committee.
Mr. Kulow was first and foremost a devoted husband and loving father, an inspiring example of unconditional love. He leaves his wife of 57 years, Muriel ?Polly? Kulow of New London; a daughter, Linda Upton of Northfield, N.H.; four sons—Frederick Jr. ?Rick? of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; Robert of Weston; Bradford of Nashua, N.H.; and David of Weston—and 12 grandchildren. Contributions may be sent to the New London Rotary Club, PO Box 1408, New London, NH 03257.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 2/p. 10