Wonder Bread maker goes au naturel


Interstate Bakeries has never been known for its focus on health foods. The company's best-known products include Hostess Twinkies, and Dolly Madison Cakes and of course, Wonder Bread.

Fresh out of bankruptcy, Interstate Bakeries is launching a "Nature's Pride" line, which will feature products with no artificial flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or trans fat. The new line is a pretty obvious response to the rapidly growing market for more health-conscious products and the stigma associated with "Fat Kid Foods" like Twinkies and nutritionally-barren breads.

But the new line will probably have a hard time making in-roads because of stiff competition from more established brands. And it might not be as healthy as the marketing hype would lead you to believe: By going "all natural" instead of "organic", Interstate Bakeries is avoiding meeting stringent standards. Analyst Marcia Mogelonsky told The Asssociated Press that "They say there's no artificial preservatives but they also say it's (going to be) distributed nationally, so you wonder where it is being made and how fresh it will be."

It's hard to see how another me-too health food (with an insipid name to boot) will prevent Interstate Bakeries from running into trouble again, and I seriously doubt that any health nuts are going to start buying loaves "from the makers of Wonder Bread!"