Bringing Snack Brands Back From the Dead

Facing tough times, food companies relaunch “ghost” brands.

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Not only are snack makers scrimping on ingredients these days, they're also reviving left-for-dead brands in their product lines. Why? When the going gets tough, it's apparently more cost-efficient to resurrect an old brand than to develop a new product, reports the New York Times.

Last week, Kellogg reintroduced Hydrox cookies, Oreo-like knockoffs that were discontinued in 2003. (During the second quarter, the maker of Pop-Tarts and Keebler cookies managed to grow its North American snack sales by 6 percent.)

Eagle Snacks, the brand sold off by Anheuser-Busch and subsequently acquired by River West Brands, are also back. Another strategy companies use in a slumping economy includes launching new products associated with well-known brands. (The Times cites Alka-Seltzer Wake-Up Call, a hangover-relief tablet, as an example.)

So, how did these products become "ghost brands" in the first place? A number of factors could be responsible, says the Times: declining sales, stronger competitors, advertising budget cuts, or a company's desire to focus on newer brands.