The Wonder, Home Pride, Butternut and Merita bread brands are back on grocery store shelves across the United States as of this week, after being off the market since their former owner, Hostess Brands, declared bankruptcy 10 months ago.
Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods, a producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods, acquired the brands in July.
“We are using the same recipes and paying close attention to quality and freshness,” said Keith Aldredge, VP of marketing at Flowers, whose top brands include Nature’s Own and Tastykake. “We want these breads to be great from the very first taste.”
What’s more, the packaging has received a retro makeover. “We went into the archives and pulled packaging designs from earlier days,” added Aldredge. “We’re bringing back the classic Wonder and Merita logos and colors. We hope the nostalgic look creates happy memories for many and attracts new consumers with its retro appeal.”
Wonder and the other brands are being baked at Flowers bakeries around the country and are available throughout the company’s direct-store-delivery (DSD) market, which currently reaches more than 77 percent of the U.S. population in the East, South, Southwest and California.
“Wherever these brands were available before within our market area, they are returning,” noted Aldredge. “We do not yet have national distribution, so these brands will not be available to all consumers. We are rapidly expanding our market and working hard to make sure everyone will be able to enjoy their favorite bread in the future.”
The Wonder relaunch includes Wonder Classic White, Wonder Whole Grain White and Wonder 100% Whole Wheat breads, along with Wonder hamburger and hot dog buns, and rolls. The brand is back in grocery stores throughout Flowers’ market area, which includes Baltimore, Boston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Richmond, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco and Tulsa.
To mark its return, Wonder has joined forces with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) to aid children’s hospitals and medical research centers. For every loaf of Wonder Classic White and Wonder Whole Grain White bread sold between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, Wonder will donate 5 cents to help children at 170 CMN hospitals around the country, up to a maximum donation of $250,000.
PG covered the breakup of Hostess Brands and its aftermath, including Flowers Foods' acquisition, in its September 2013 issue.