Friday, September 25, 2009

Wonder Bread's Return to Los Angeles

(Flickr pic by SoCal Metro.)

The decision to end production of Wonder Bread -- that bland, wholesome white bread that everyone grew up on -- in Southern California drew big headlines in 2007 (see here).

But I haven't been able to find many articles touting its return. It's true: Wonder Bread is back. And Jnterstate Brands Corp. has also brought back Home Pride brands, and introduced a new line, Nature's Pride, to the marketplace.

Sales had been declining for some time when Interstate, which also manufactures Hostess and Dolly Madison products, decided to eliminate Wonder Bread all together from SoCal. The L.A. Times wrote in 2007:

Essentially, "the company was in the wrong business in the wrong market," said Rich Seban, chief marketing officer for Wonder Bread maker Interstate Bakeries Corp. of Kansas City, Mo.

Shoppers such as Sarah Foss, a court reporter from Upland, are weaning their families off refined flour products. "Wonder Bread is like wallpaper paste," she said.

I guess Interstate had a change of heart, Here's its recent press release:


Irving, TX – In response to significant consumer demand during a nearly two-year absence, Wonder and Home Pride brand breads – among the top sellers in their respective categories previously – are now again available at retailers throughout the Southern California market, Interstate Brands Corporation (IBC), the baker of both breads, announced today. The company also announced that its new Nature’s Pride bread, the first brand of 100% natural bread available across the country, has expanded its west coast distribution and is now sold throughout Southern California .

When previously in the market, Home Pride was the best selling brand of premium white and everyday wheat bread and Wonder, the number one brand of white bread in America , was also one of the top sellers in Southern California .

In connection with the re-introduction, IBC has pledged to donate 5,000 loaves of bread to the San Diego Food Bank and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to support their missions of providing food to people in need, advocating for the hungry and advancing human caring.

Rich Seban, chief marketing officer of IBC added, “Not only are we bringing back Wonder and Home Pride, we are also expanding our offerings with new 100% natural Nature’s Pride, which, in only a few short months since its launch, has drawn rave reviews from consumers and earned high praise from Fitness Magazine as the best sliced bread. Nature’s Pride is a testament to a renewed commitment to innovation at IBC, one that will continue to expand our focus on nutrition to meet consumers’ evolving tastes and desires. We are extremely excited about the significant market opportunity here.”

Looks like either Rich had a change of heart, or the re-introduction of Wonder Bread is really just a way to get some shelf space for Nature's Pride. Either way, there's something comforting in having an old brand back in the supermarkets.

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