With consumers craving indulgent snacks, Prairie City Bakery offers ‘Down Home’ and ‘Ooey Gooey’ choices

Feb. 8, 2022

Prairie City Bakery’s award-winning sweet snack lineup offers micro market and foodservice operators the opportunity to expand category growth and revenue by capitalizing on the upward indulgence trend. This is an important attribute, as 85% of consumers eat at least one snack a day for indulgence, according to Mondelēz International Inc.’s 2021 State of Snacking report.

Prairie City Bakery is a wholly owned subsidiary of McKee Foods, America’s largest family-owned bakery and the maker of Little Debbie snacks.

A short mission statement – WOW

“Our company mission statement is “WOW,” said marketing manager Alex DeBack. “That isn’t a long mission statement, but it’s what we strive to do – create products consumers are going to put in their mouth and say, "WOW, that was good." It’s a goal the company’s founder initiated and it's something we've kept going because it sets us apart.”

C-store success

“Our primary market has been c-stores for the past 27 years,” said John Williams, the company’s president. “We know that our packaged products are a great fit for micro markets and our bulk breakfast items are perfect for corporate foodservice. These channels are an emerging market for us, and we’ve enjoyed some significant growth over the past two years.”

Williams added that Prairie City Bakery products are currently in more than 30,000 locations nationwide.

Award winning product line

Prairie City Bakery’s extensive product line has won multiple awards from top trade journals as well as the American Tasting Institute. Micro market operators can “WOW” their customers with Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes, Down Home Cookies, Ooey Gooey Lava Cakes as well as several other premium quality snack offerings such as Down Home Delights and Walkin’ Wafel Drizzled Delights.

‘Unbelievably Decadent’ Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

“The Ooey Gooey Butter cakes are unbelievably decadent,” DeBack said. “When you taste them, the only possible reaction is “WOW.” The butter cakes just melt in your mouth. You can’t miss the rich, creamy flavor and we offer multiple varieties – Original, Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon, Key Lime, Lemon, Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Caramel.

“The Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is the number one seller in micro markets,” Williams added. “When someone wants an indulgent sweet treat, that's going to be the ticket for them. It’s that delicious.”

'Indulgent' Down Home Cookies

DeBack explained that Down Home Cookies have the look and feel of a cookie freshly baked by mom and dropped into your lunchbox. “They are not your standard commercial cookies in a two pack. They're soft, indulgent, substantial in size, made with real butter, zero trans-fat, freshly baked, with huge chunks of chocolate or other premium add-ins. Everybody loves them,” he said.

Williams pointed to one other unique feature of their Down Home Cookies. Because they are shaped by hand, they are not perfectly uniform in size. “Each one is a little different. We want to make sure that when our products are on the shelf, they look like they just came out of the kitchen. There's more handwork involved and it takes a little bit longer to produce – but that's in our DNA and it is a big reason why we have been successful.”

With multiple Down Home Cookie varieties available – Cookies & Cream, Chocolatey Chunk, Mmm…Candy, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter and White Macadamia Nut – operators can easily keep customers engaged.

‘Decadent’ Ooey Gooey Molten Lava Cakes

“Our Ooey Gooey Molten Lava cakes were launched in 2020,” DeBack noted. “They won several “Best New Product” awards for us that year. An incredible flavor experience – almost like a mix between a brownie and a cake, with a dollop of different flavored fillings in the middle – either chocolate, salted caramel or peanut butter.

“When you bite into the Molten Lave Cake and experience that super rich flavor, you know right away that it is an extremely indulgent product,” he added. “Along with the cookies, they're also wrapped in clear film for that homemade look and feel.”

Solid margins

Williams said that Prairie City Bakery products are priced at or below the cost of competing items in the cake and cookie category. “Because our butter cakes, soft cookies and lava cakes are rightfully seen as a premium product, operators can command a higher price, insuring excellent margins. Customers will pay more for premium quality.”

Wide generational appeal

Both DeBack and Williams agree that their butter cakes, soft cookies and lava cakes are loved by all generations across all demographics. DeBack said that their data from convenience stores show that Prairie City Bakery products have wide appeal.

“Anyone who wants a unique and indulgent sweet snack is attracted to our products. That is why they are such a great fit for micro markets,” Williams said.

A high-quality differentiator

Williams has a simple message for operators. “It makes sense to have Prairie City Bakery products in your micro market, pantry service and foodservice locations because there is nothing else like them out there. They’re not a me-too item, but rather a high-quality differentiator with a good shelf life and a homemade appeal. Plus, they are easily available through multiple vending distributors.

“This is the one type of item that can fill that gap before dinner or even act as a meal substitute for some,” he continued. “The snacking occasion has changed and quite often, your customers want something different than a bag of chips, they want something indulgent.”

For more information about Prairie City Bakery products or to request samples, contact Prairie City Bakery at (800) 338-5122 or [email protected].

About the Author

Industry consultant and VendingMarketWatch.com contributor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.” Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business. Visit tullioB2B.com to learn more about VMW's contributing editor and his b2b services.


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