Leaf Brands looks to revive Hydrox cookies
by Eric Schroeder
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NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. — Leaf Brands L.L.C. has acquired the trademark for Hydrox sandwich cookies, paving the way for the company to reintroduce the cookies later this year. The company also acquired the trademarks to Tart n Tinys, Wacky Wafers and Quicksand Bubblegum.
“Similar to our acquisition of Astro Pops, we plan to reintroduce Tart n Tinys, Hydrox, Wacky Wafers and Quicksand Bubblegum over the next six to eight months,” said Ellia Kassoff, chief executive officer of Leaf Brands. “They are all such iconic, classic products we can’t wait to bring these favorites back to their loyal fans. We just had to wait until we were able to make them all exactly like the consumer remembers them. As a company resurrecting old brands, it’s critical all products we bring back are perfect. The loyal consumer will only give the products one chance to hit the mark, and if they’re not the same, the customer won’t buy them again.”
Hydrox, known as the original sandwich cookie, will be exactly like the original cookie that left the market in 2008, Mr. Kassoff said.
“We’re just so excited to bring back the original Hydrox product,” he said. “Not many people know it but Hydrox was the original sandwich cookie, predating Oreo by four years. You can even say Oreo was the ‘knock-off’ to Hydrox.”
Shipping should begin in August/September timeframe.
Hydrox cookies debuted in 1908 and were manufactured by Sunshine Biscuits. Sunshine Biscuits was purchased by Keebler in 1996, and in 1999, Keebler replaced Hydrox with a similar but reformulated product named Droxies. Keebler was later acquired by the Kellogg Co. in 2001. Kellogg removed Droxies from the market in 2003, and then revived Hydrox in 2008 in celebration of the cookie’s 100th anniversary. Distributed under the Sunshine label, Hydrox cookies shipped in late August 2008 with a slightly different recipe from the original. Less than a year later the products were again off the market.
A 1999 Fortune magazine article reflecting on Hydrox’s woes indicated the brand’s name may have played as big a role as any in hampering its growth. The brand’s founders wanted a name that evoked purity and goodness. Deeming water as the purest thing they knew, they combined water’s atomic elements — HYDRogen and OXygen — into one word. But market research conducted by Keebler indicated most consumers associated the name with more industrial purposes, such as antiseptics or cleaning liquids.
Hence, Keebler changed the name to Droxies in the late 1990s, but the change proved far too late to halt the brand’s demise. By 1998, annual sales of Oreo totaled $402 million — 25 times more than Hydrox’s $16 million in annual sales.
Leaf said its strategy is to rebuild one of the largest candy and snack companies in the United States, through brand acquisition and development of new and fun products for people to enjoy.