McKee Foods brings back Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Yodels, Drake’s Coffee Cake 10 months after Hostess collapse: ‘We had to start from scratch’

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

McKee brings back Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Yodels, Drake’s Coffee Cake
The return of brands from the former Hostess stable including Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Yodels and Drake’s Coffee Cake on Monday will be followed by several other Drake’s products in the coming days including Honey Buns, Blueberry Muffins, Banana Nut Muffins and Danish Pastries, says new owner McKee Foods.

Drake’s Twinkie-like snack cake brand Zoinks! will also be “brought out of retirement​” and will join other Drake's products in stores throughout the northeast of the US in the coming weeks, McKee Foods' corporate communications director Mike Gloekler told FoodNavigator-USA.

The recipes and packaging will remain the same although the Hostess logo will be replaced by a McKee Foods logo.

Collegedale, Tennessee-based McKee Foods - best known for its Little Debbie snack cakes -  paid $27.5m for Drake’s brands including Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Yodels, Yankee Doodles, Sunny Doodles, Funny Bones and Drake’s Coffee Cake earlier this year along with the equipment to make them from a former Hostess factory in New Jersey.

By the time we got hold of the recipes in April, there weren’t any products leftto compareto

Around 12 trailer loads of kit have been transferred to McKee facilities in Tennessee and Virginia, said Gloekler, who said that so many extra staff were recruited to cope with the volume surge McKee experienced immediately after Hostess went bust last November that it has not had to bring in new staff specifically for the Drake’s re-launch.

The biggest challenge has been ensuring the products taste exactly as fans remembered, he said. “By the time we got hold of the recipes in April, there weren’t any products left​ [on the market for benchmarking purposes] to compare to, so from an R&D perspective, we had to start from scratch.

“We had to test our products with Drake’s loyalists and fine tune recipes right down to how much of the cream filling from Devil Dogs people expect to get on the inside of the wrapper.”

The first four Drake's products will hit shelves Monday

Before Hostess went bust, we were being outsold by Drakes 3:1 in parts of New York City

It has not been a problem getting the products re-listed, he said. “Retailers want them back.”

Meanwhile, McKee has been generating some excitement around the re-launch on social media channels and via advertising in mass transit systems in the northeast, he said.

Before​ [Hostess went bust], we were being outsold by Drakes 3:1 in parts of New York City.”

 So will bringing the Drake’s brand back reverse all the gains that McKee has seen for its Little Debbie products in the months following the Hostess collapse?

“We don’t think so​,” said Gloekler. “There were folks that converted to Little Debbie products and there will be those that are specifically looking for the Drake’s brand, but we’re not too worried about cannibalism.”

The first Drake’s products - Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Yodels, Drake’s Coffee Cake - will be available in supermarkets, supercenters, value retailers and convenience stores throughout the Northeast starting Monday September 23.

Related topics Manufacturers Bakery Snacks

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Posted by James Accomando,

What would it take too bring back the ring ding " original recipe " special edition of course since the ingredients do not still conform too " blah blah blah, and take the insane profits and help the people struck by the hurricane even more so ? My father was a milkman in the 50 s and on and he would bring them home sometimes and you didn't even get the package open and you would get that aroma of the product a one of a kind chocolatey goodness that is almost undescribable because mankind has not come
up with a word for it yet it's all about the advertising and you can run a prize thingamajiggy too increase sales and push your product BACK onto the consumer because there are better steps into keeping healthy these days too offset the indulgence of chocolatey goodness cascading throughout the internal senses reinforcing the trustworthiness of the consumer too fulfill chocolatey dependence when called upon for ever, thank you.

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Posted by Timothy J Evans,

I have not purchased Devil Dogs in some time. But when I saw them at my grocery store I had to see if they were liked I remember as a child. I'm sorry to say that they are much smaller then I remember. They use to be one of my favorite. Oh and one more thing. The cake taste the same but the filling not so much. Thank you for your time.

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President ,American Fabric Panel corp

Posted by Frank Slattery,

I was so excited to see Drake's line of snack cakes on the shelves again,
Unfortunately I was just disappointed, the cake does not taste the same,
Living in New York it seemed like a counterfeit knockoff sold on the corner.
Please find that original recipe and I'm sure your stock will go up

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