CHICAGO — Hydrox maker Leaf Brands, L.L.C. has reformulated the classic sandwich cookie to tap into consumer demand for products made with simple ingredients. The new Hydrox contains no artificial colors and flavors, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrups or bioengineered ingredients and is debuting at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, held May 23-25 in Chicago.
The improved recipe has led to increased production costs for Leaf Brands, but the company said retail pricing will not increase and that it expects higher sales and consumer loyalty as a result of the changes.
|Ellia Kassoff, c.e.o. of Leaf Brands
“We believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Ellia Kassoff, chief executive officer of Leaf Brands. “We are really excited to release the new ‘clean label’ formula for Hydrox. As a private company our focus is on high quality products for our customers, not finding ways to increase profits by sacrificing high quality as many publicly owned cookie manufacturers are forced to do. Hydrox will always be made right here in the U.S.A., using the finest ingredients available.”
Hydrox cookies debuted in 1908 and were manufactured by Sunshine Biscuits. Keebler purchased Sunshine Biscuits in 1996, and in 1999, Keebler replaced Hydrox with a similar but reformulated product named Droxies. Keebler was 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 again were off the market.
After acquiring Hydrox in 2014, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Leaf Brands said it set out to rebuild the cookies in the original formula, using sugar and high-quality cocoa.
“Our focus at Leaf is not profit but instead, giving people the ‘experiences’ they remember,” Mr. Kassoff said.Leaf Brands, once the fourth largest candy producer in North America, produced Whoppers, Jolly Ranchers and Rain Blo Bubblegum, which were sold to The Hershey Co. in the late 1990s. In addition to Hydrox, Leaf Brands has reintroduced Astro Pop, tart n’ tinys and Wacky Wafers.