The Return of Hydrox

Leaf Brands bringing back iconic Oreo rival, more

Published in CSP Daily News

Oreos rival Hydrox (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Snacks & Candy)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Candy and snack manufacturer Leaf Brands LLC has acquired the Hydrox sandwich cookie brand, as well as the Tart n Tinys, Wacky Wafers and Quicksand Bubblegum trademarks and will reintroduce the classic brands back into the market this year.

The company previously brought back the Astro Pops and launched Farts Candy and David's Signature Beyond Gourmet jelly beans.

"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 Leaf Brands CEO Ellia Kassoff. "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 will be exactly like the original cookie which left the market in 2008.

"We're just so excited to bring back the original Hydrox product. 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!" Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands comments. Shipping should begin in August/September timeframe.

"The cosmic difference between Hydrox and Oreo is that Hydrox is a little more crispy; a little less sugary and stands up better in milk," Kassoff, told USA Today.

While the return of Hydrox is expected to be a hit with baby boomers who may fondly remember the brand--formerly owned by Kellogg's, Keebler and Sunshine--it may be a tougher sell with millennials who are not very familiar with the cookie brand, which hasn't been regularly sold on store shelves in almost a decade.

"We'll use social media to reach out to millennials," said Kassoff.

The Hydrox brand has special meaning to him, said the report. As a young kid raised by parents who were Orthodox Jews, he was only permitted to eat Hydrox, and not Oreos, because, he said, at the time, Oreos were not kosher but Hydrox were.

Today, both are kosher, the newspaper said.

The move by Leaf Brands comes two years after giant Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday.

Executives at Mondelez International, Deerfield, Ill., which owns the Oreo brand, are hardly showing any signs of concern. "Oreo is America's favorite cookie," company spokesperson Laurie Guzzinati, told the newspaper. She declined to comment specifically on the return of Hydrox.

Kellogg stopped making Hydrox in 2002. Then, in 2008, when Hydrox turned 100, Kellogg briefly resumed distribution, but only for a limited time.

Hydrox still has an online fan page, said the report.

Click here to read the full USA Today report.

Leaf Brands is relaunching Quicksand Bubblegum in May, Tart n Tinys in June and Wacky Wafers in July or August of this year.

Its strategy is to rebuild one of the largest candy and snack companies in the United States through brand acquisition and development of new products. Leaf is also focused on resurrecting many old brands in their original form, and then expand the product lines once it launches the products.

Leaf Brands is also has plans to bring back Bonkers! Fruit Chews in late 2014.

The original Leaf Brands was started in the 1920s. Once the fourth-largest candy producer in North America, it produced candy classics such as Whoppers, Jolly Rancher and Rain Blo Bubblegum, which were later sold to Hershey in the late 1990s. Family members have acquired the Leaf brand name for the United States.