The Return of Wonder Bread

Wonder, Merita, Home Pride, Butternut brands back on retail shelves

Wonder Bread

THOMASVILLE, Ga. -- Wonder, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut bread brands are returning to retail store shelves across the country starting this week. Flowers Foods, a leading producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods in the United States, acquired the brands from Old HB Inc. (formerly Hostess Brands) in July. The brands have been off the market since Hostess declared bankruptcy 10 months ago.

"We're thrilled to be baking these wonderful breads and know that millions of consumers will be smiling when they find their favorite back in their grocery store," said Keith Aldredge, Flowers Foods' vice president of marketing. "We are using the same recipes and paying close attention to quality and freshness. We want these breads to be great from the very first taste."

Flowers bakeries around the country are baking Wonder, Merita and the other brands. They are available throughout the company's direct-store-delivery (DSD) market. This market currently reaches more than 77% of the U.S. population in the East, South, Southwest and California.

"Where ever these brands were available before within our market area--they are returning," Aldredge said. "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."

Aldredge also pointed out that long-time Wonder and Merita consumers will recognize the new "old" look of these brands' packaging. "We went into the archives and pulled packaging designs from earlier days," he said. "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."

The Wonder relaunch includes Wonder Classic White, Wonder Whole Grain White and Wonder 100% Whole Wheat breads. Also returning are Wonder hamburger and hot dog buns, and rolls.

"Wonder has been a part of the American food scene since 1921," Aldredge said.

Wonder is back in grocery stores throughout Flowers' market area. This 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 celebrate its return, Wonder Bread is partnering with the Children's Miracle Network (CMN) to help children's hospitals and medical research centers that treat common childhood afflictions ranging from broken bones to birth defects and cancer. For every loaf of Wonder Classic White and Wonder Whole Grain White bread sold between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, Wonder will donate five cents to help children at 170 CMN hospitals around the country (up to a maximum donation of $250,000).

Bread brands with strong regional following--Merita, Home Pride and Butternut--also are returning to stores within Flowers' market area.

"While Wonder will be positioned as our national white bread brand, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut are great additions to our lineup of regional white bread brands, which already includes Sunbeam and Bunny," Aldredge said. "White bread consumers are very brand loyal, so each of our bakeries has a specific plan to ensure that we are offering consumers what they want."

Based in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the United States, with 2012 sales of $3.1 billion. Flowers operates bakeries across the country that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company's top brands are Nature's Own and Tastykake.