Monday, May 21, 2018
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Wonder back in bread aisle after year with new, old recipe

Wonder bread returning to shelves under new owner after Hostess bankruptcy


Wonder Bread — a familiar presence on store shelves for decades until last November — began returning to supermarkets on Monday after being bought by Flowers Foods from Hostess Brands.


NEW YORK — Wonder bread is back almost a year after it vanished from shelves.

Flowers Foods Inc., which bought Wonder from the now-defunct Hostess Brands, said the bread started returning to supermarket shelves Monday.

The company, which also makes Tastykake and Nature’s Own bread, snapped up five bread brands after Hostess went out of business late last year. The $355 million deal included Butternut, Home Pride, and Merita, which are all returning to shelves along with Wonder.

Keith Aldredge, vice president of marketing at Flowers Foods, said the company is deciding the fate of the Nature’s Pride bread brand, which was also acquired from Hostess.

Flower Foods bought 20 bakeries from Hostess, including one in the Toledo suburb of Northwood that produced Wonder and other bread brands. A former Hostess bakery in Defiance was not purchased.

A Flower Foods spokesman told The Blade last month that when Wonder Bread returned, it would be made at Flower Foods’ existing bakeries.

He said the bakeries purchased from Hostess likely would be reactivated only if demand warranted. He said some of the 20 facilities might never reopen and could be sold.

The demise of Hostess Brands, which had been troubled by years of management turmoil, sparked an outpouring of nostalgia for treats such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos. Soon after the company said it was shutting down its factories in November, 2012, consumers headed to shelves and wiped out supplies of Twinkies and other cakes.

Flowers is apparently hoping to tap into that nostalgia.

Mr. Aldredge said the company decided to go back to retro packaging for the relaunch of Wonder bread. He also said Flowers decided to use a Wonder recipe from “an earlier time,” although he could not provide details on what that meant or how the bread would be different from what was on shelves most recently.

The bread is being distributed in the areas where Flowers distributes its products, with hopes of expanding over time.

Flowers Foods, which is based in Thomasville, Ga., said it reaches about three-quarters of the country.

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