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Wonder bread returns to store shelves

Wonder bread is back on store shelves after nearly a year away. Flowers Foods Inc. bought Wonder from the now-defunct Hostess Brands.
Wonder bread is back on store shelves after nearly a year away. Flowers Foods Inc. bought Wonder from the now-defunct Hostess Brands. Paul Sakuma

The iconic soft, squishy bread long a lunchbox favorite is back.

Flowers Foods Inc., which bought Wonder from the now-defunct Hostess Brands, says the bread started returning to supermarket shelves Monday nearly a year after it vanished. 

The company, which also makes Tastykake and Nature's Own bread, snapped up five bread brands after Hostess went out of business late last year. The $355 million deal included Butternut, Home Pride and Merita, which are all returning to shelves along with Wonder. 

Keith Aldredge, vice president of marketing at Flowers Foods, says the company is still deciding the fate of the Nature's Pride bread brand. 

The demise of Hostess Brands, which had been troubled by years of management turmoil, sparked an outpouring of nostalgia for treats such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. Soon after the company said it was shutting down its factories last November, people headed to shelves and wiped out supplies of Twinkies and other cakes. 

Flowers is apparently hoping to tap into that nostalgia. 

Aldredge said the company decided to go back to retro packaging for the relaunch of Wonder bread. He also said Flowers decided to use a Wonder recipe from "an earlier time," although he could not provide details on what that meant or how the bread would be different from what was on shelves most recently. 

The company says the bread is being distributed in the areas where Flowers currently distributes its products, with hopes of expanding over time. Flowers Foods, based in Thomasville, Ga., says it reaches about three quarters of the country.