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Saving Tastykake from the snack food graveyard

- Last modified: February 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM

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A pair of Butterscotch Krimpets stands among the unwanted treats in the LVB snack food graveyard.
A pair of Butterscotch Krimpets stands among the unwanted treats in the LVB snack food graveyard. - (Photo By Stacy Wescoe)

Hey Tastykake! I think I know how to save your brand.

It should accept my advice. The Philadelphia-based company, which turned 100 this week, nearly didn't celebrate its milestone birthday.

The company averted bankruptcy in 2011 when parent company Country Kitchen was sold to Flowers Foods. It has since enjoyed a bit of a rebound, according to Philly.com.

The financial problems of its sister snack-food maker, Hostess – and the subsequent disappearance of junk food-staple Twinkies from the shelves for six months last year — gave the Philly favorite a chance to expand its market share. Tastykakes landed on shelves in New England and other areas where it hadn't been before.

But even if the sweet treats are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, there is a bigger problem for brands such as Tastykake and Twinkie.

America's tastes are changing.

It's not that Twinkies and Koffee Kake Cupcakes aren't tasty. We all had them in our school lunches. We know they are tasty.

It's just that the modern palate is looking for something a bit more … natural.

WHERE UNWANTED TREATS GO TO DIE

Here at Lehigh Valley Business we have a spot in the kitchenette I like to call the "snack food graveyard – where all unwanted treats go to die."

About six months ago our editor, Bill Kline, brought in a pack of Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets and asked if anyone wanted it.

Everyone was quick to share their stories about how much they loved finding a Krimpet in their elementary school lunch as a child, but no one stepped up to eat it.

So, there it sits along with stale Triscuits, spicy mustard and a pack of soy crackers. The pack of Krimpets probably still is OK to eat, but that also might be what's scaring people away from it, the preservatives.

In the back of our minds we can't help but wonder if some of those original Tastykakes from 1914 might still be good.

CREATIVE MARKETING

You know who doesn't care, though? People with the munchies.

A Girl Scout in California figured that out.

Danielle Lei recently became an Internet darling when she got the brilliant – if not obvious – idea to sell her Girl Scout cookies outside a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary.

You can laugh if you want to, but she sold 117 boxes in less than two hours.

I can't even begin to imagine how many neighbors' snowy yards I would have had to trudge through to sell that many cookies – but a little 10-year old Stacy likely still would be out there hawking her Thin Mints to sell that many.

If slipping in through the back door into markets such as New England when Twinkie wasn't looking helped build the Tastykake brand – steering your brand into the California and Colorado markets where, um, munchies are legal is a slam-dunk business idea.

The idea … It's yours Tastykake. You can have it. You're welcome.

Now go grow your business so it can last another 100 years and we in eastern Pennsylvania will be able to sleep easy at night knowing our peanut butter Kandy Kakes will always be there for us – should we ever get the guts to eat one again.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe covers technology and trends plus keeps you up to date on what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler and on social media. Reach her at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook and circle her on Google+.

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