The bread major will start distributing its four ex-Hostess brands Wonder, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut across its network in the US this week.
Flowers has maintained the old recipes for each bread brand but will launch them with old-style retro packs. Management has drawn particular attention to its packaged white bread brand Wonder.
“Wonder has been a part of the American food scene since 1921. Generations have grown up on Wonder sandwiches. It’s a classic,” said Keith Aldredge, vice president of marketing for Flowers Foods.
Flowers CEO Allen L. Shiver described Wonder as the "powerhouse brand" and a legendary part of the US diet that will head up a very strong bread portfolio.
“Our research shows that consumers have a high regard for the Wonder brand,” Shiver told attendees at the Barclays Back to School Conference earlier this month.
Discussing the re-launch, Aldredge said Flowers has redesigned the bread packs using old pack designs from the archives.
“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 re-launch includes its classic white, whole grain white and 100% whole wheat breads along with its hamburger and hot dog buns and rolls.
Brand equity: The best thing going for it…
Flowers Foods’ strategy falls into what one leading food analyst has suggested would be the best way to bolster growth with Wonder. Euromonitor’s packaged foods analyst Matthew Hudak previously told BakeryandSnacks.com that brand equity was the best thing going for Wonder and that Flowers Foods should use this, making it a cultural favorite and targeting consumers who used to eat the brand as a kid.
The bread brands will return to shelves within Flowers’ remit – not nationally.
Flowers has a reach of around 77% of the US with its direct-store-delivery (DSD) system but said it plans on expanding its market coverage, particularly via its newly acquired bakeries from Hostess Brands.
Merita, Home Pride and Butternut… not forgotten
“While Wonder will be positioned as our national white bread brand, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut are great additions to our line-up of regional white bread brands, which already includes Sunbeam and Bunny,” Aldredge said.
Flowers is aware that white bread consumers are very brand loyal, he added, and so the company has specific plans to offer consumers what they want.
At the Barclay’s Back to School Conference, Shiver said Flowers is focused on leveraging all of the brands to gain incremental sales. “We have the original recipes for the acquired brands and so with the reintroduction we’re offering the traditional taste and flavor profile. Product quality, product freshness and service levels are also all very important as we bring the brands back to the fresh bread aisle,” the CEO said.