The North Pole isn’t the only place putting in extra hours this time of the year.
“We’re like Santa’s workshop, working around the clock to get our top-selling Christmas seasonal products to our customers,” said Mike Gloekler, Corporate Communications and PR Manager at McKee Foods.
McKee Foods Corporation, a privately held, family-run company based in Collegedale, Tennessee, has sold more than 157 billion Little Debbie snacks since the brand became available in stores in 1960. Sales of Little Debbie snacks represent a third of the snack cake market, making Little Debbie the No. 1 brand of snack cakes.
While year-round varieties stay steady, seasonal products provide a large lift in volume output. Holiday production ramps up at McKee Foods’ Collegedale facility each year right after Halloween to coincide with the start of the Christmas season in retail. Of McKee’s holiday items, its Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes are the top selling product in the category.
McKee introduced Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes in 1985. Over the years, McKee has enhanced the shape of the tree, adding evergreen scalloped edges, to make them look even more realistic. The vanilla Christmas Tree Cakes are a perennial favorite, but McKee is always looking for new, innovative ideas.
“A few years ago, based on consumer interest in the red velvet flavor, we added the Little Debbie red velvet Christmas Tree Cakes,” Gloekler said. “Following that, we used our unique capabilities to create Little Debbie Santa Brownies which feature Santa’s jolly red face, red hat and snow white beard.”
Among McKee’s newest creations is a spin on its highly popular Little Debbie Nutty Bars. Inspired by homemade confections, McKee dressed its traditional Nutty Bars for the holidays by dunking them in white icing and decorating them with bright red stripes to resemble the North Pole. The transformation proved effective and has become yet another favorite in McKee’s seasonal lineup.
In addition to Nutty Bars, Oatmeal Creme Pies and Swiss Cake Rolls make up the three top-selling varieties with more than 200 million cartons sold annually of just these three products alone. In comparison, the amount of holiday items McKee sells each year is nothing short of impressive. “We ship our seasonal products all over North America. So many, in fact, that cartons of vanilla, chocolate and red velvet Christmas Tree Cakes sold would stretch from Memphis to Mountain City six times,” said Gloekler.
Unlike the North Pole, the end of the Christmas season doesn’t indicate a slowdown in production as McKee is always looking ahead at the next holiday. By the time you’re reading this, the company will have already transitioned from Christmas trees to hearts in preparation for Valentine’s Day!