Home / History of Wonder Bread

History of Wonder Bread

The Taggart Baking Company of Indianapolis was planning to launch its 1.5 pound loaf of bread. But first, the new product needed a name and identity. Vice President Elmer Cline was charged with merchandising development of the new bread loaf.

Inspiration struck while Elmer was visiting the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway. He was awestruck by a sky filled with hundreds of colorful balloons. To Elmer, the image signified a sense of “wonder,” and Wonder® Bread was born. Since that time, the colorful red, blue and yellow balloons have been the cornerstone of Wonder Bread’s logo and package.

In 1925, the Continental Baking Company bought the Indianapolis bakery and Wonder Bread soon became a national brand.

The Continental Baking Company altered the course of bread forever in the 1930s when it introduced sliced Wonder Bread. Sales were slow at first as suspicious consumers were reluctant to accept a pre-sliced bread, but convenience overruled apprehension and soon everyone wanted sliced Wonder Bread on their dinner table.

During the ‘40s, Americans were forced to tighten their belts and the Continental Baking Company did its part to support the war effort. Metals become so precious that the blades for the bread-slicing machines are no longer available. Unsliced bread is again sold on grocery store shelves.

Several advances in the nutrition and baking process were made during this decade. In 1941, Wonder Bread was involved in a government-supported move to enrich white bread with vitamins and minerals to improve nutrition. Known as the “quiet miracle,” bread enrichment nearly eliminated the diseases Beriberi and Pellagra and brought essential nutrients to people who previously could not afford nutritious foods. At the same time Wonder introduced a revolutionary new way of baking that eliminated holes in bread.

The ‘70s ushered in an era of providing the consumer with nutritional information. Wonder Bread adopted an open-dating system on bread products and introduced nutrition information labels, clearly informing consumers about freshness dates and product ingredients.

In 1986, a new reduced-calorie Wonder Bread was launched. Wonder Light remains as one of the company’s strong sellers.

In 1995, Interstate Brands Corporation acquired the Continental Baking Company, and the “Remember the Wonder” ad campaign reminded consumers that Wonder Bread, one of the nation’s softest, freshest, most fun bread products, is also nutritious.

In honor of Wonder Bread’s 80th birthday, the Wonder Bread hot air balloon begins touring the country in the summer of 2001. Flying at balloon festivals and spreading the story of how Wonder Bread earned its name, the balloon brings back childhood lunchbox memories to people from coast to coast and reminds everyone why Wonder Bread is their favorite. © 2006 Wonder Bread

Leave a Comment