Blog: Katy AskewMcKee should refresh returning Drake's cake brand

Katy Askew | 23 September 2013

US firm McKee Foods, the new owner of Drake's cakes, has said it is celebrating 125 years of the iconic brand by returning the four most popular varieties to the shelves.

McKee snapped up the iconic Drake's business after Hostess Brands was liquidated earlier this year. The company is relaunching Devil Dogs, Coffee Cakes, Ring Dings and Yodels today (23 September).

"The launch of these top four varieties is just the beginning for Drake's," said Chris McKee, EVP marketing and sales. "Our first mission is to get the most popular and familiar tastes back into the pantries and lunch boxes of Drake's loyal fans."

So, will McKee be bringing a new take on an old favourite? No. The company will be using the same recipes and same carton formats to pick up Drake's "right where it left off".

Now, obviously Drake's has a strong core of loyal customers and it makes sense to initially focus on cashing in on the goodwill that the return of Drake's will elicit. Nostalgia can be a key purchase driver.

However, in the longer term McKee would be wise to bring something new to the brand. Sales of packaged cakes are flat - at best - in the US. Consumers are increasingly concerned about issues surrounding health and wellness and growth pockets - such as gluten-free or premiumisation - are bright spots in an otherwise gloomy category.

If McKee is to leverage the full brand power of Drake's, it will need to expand and modernise an iconic brand that currently has its place firmly in a nostalgic past.

Sectors: Bakery, NPD & innovation

Companies: Hostess Brands

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