The Rise of Duncan Hines
What began as a bread company expanded into other baked goods when the original owner, Duncan Hines, sold the rights to his name to Roy H. Park. Park created Hines-Park, which began manufacturing cake mixes that was eventually sold to Proctor & Gamble. Soon the products, along with a full line of related products, were being sold across the nation.
In 2004, Pinnacle Foods Corporation acquired the Duncan Hines brand in 2004. Today, the Duncan Hines product line offers over 80 different sweet baked-good mixes, ranging from cakes and brownies to muffins and cookies, as well as ready-to-spread frosting and ready-to-bake brownies.
The Role of the OU
In 2005, the company deciding to include dairy in its mixes, but this decision left a large consumer base—those seeking pareve and kosher products—untapped. Customers wanted the original mixes back. They were heard loud and clear: A year later, with the assistance of OU rabbinic coordinator Rabbi Michael Coleman, the company declared it would bring back certified pareve kosher cake mixes.
Of this decision, Jeff Ansell, chief executive officer, said: “We are very excited to again offer Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Cake Mixes as non-dairy pareve products. We made this shift in production because we wanted to once again offer our long-time and valued pareve consumers non-dairy cake mixes. It was a difficult decision last year to change away from pareve. We heard both from consumers and trade customers and that is why we worked hard to make the move back to pareve. ”
Companies Like Duncan Hines Recognize the Kosher Advantage
“Often labels will sport an ‘O’ with a ‘U’ inside. This is the stamp of approval of the largest kosher-certification body, and basically means there’s no need to read the label….” — Wall Street Journal
Over $150 billion in kosher certified products are consumed annually, and the OU kosher symbol appears on close to 70% of America’s most popular kosher-certified foods, from Duncan Hines to Coca-Cola. Why?
Busy shoppers don’t have time to stop and read labels. They will choose the products that have a clear kosher certification. Because of this, a product with a prominent OU symbol is more likely to make it into a shopper’s cart.
OU Provides the Competitive Edge
There is clear evidence that kosher symbols boost market share and win more highly coveted shelf space—a kosher product will outperform a non-Kosher product by 20%.
Duncan Hines knows this better than anyone, having experienced backlash from consumers after making the shift away from pareve and kosher products. It was clear that the kosher logo was an extremely important tool to enhance their products’ marketability.
Products with the OU symbol sell faster and supermarkets give OU certified products the best shelf space. Ultimately, this generates more sales and leads to an increase in business.
Duncan Hines Today
Now that Duncan Hines has regained its pareve and kosher status, their products have found their way back to Sabbath tables. Today Duncan Hines offers more pareve cake mixes than any other brand. Twelve of 18 Moist Deluxe flavors, representing more than 80 percent of sales, are pareve. These include Swiss Chocolate, Spice, Fudge Marble, Pineapple Supreme, Butter Recipe Fudge, German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Dark Chocolate Fudge, and more.
“Successful companies make smart decisions, even if it means reversing a previous decision,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher. “Duncan Hines’ switch of its Moist Deluxe Cake Mixes to dairy obviously disappointed part of its consumer base. The marketplace speaks. I commend the company for reversing its decision and restoring the mixes to OU pareve status, which means they are now restored to the Sabbath meat table.”