How do they make them so cheap? I fear the chemistry but in cents per calorie, they can feed the world.
You know the answer.
lol r2. I like them occasionally in fact just bought some the other day, brownies with chocolate chips on them. first time in a long while just felt like it. they do taste cheap no doubt but they hit the spot.
I've always wondered the same thing. Remember when they used to be $.99? Those were the days.
I used to inhale the Swiss Cake rolls but recently I had one and the grease stuck to the top of my mouth. Didn't like that too much.
Pure religious fervor.
I love them, but they go right to my hips.
Eww, little Debbie is nasty.
R7 is very correct. I used to sell ingredients to McKee Foods, the parent company of Little Debbie, and when I would take anyone from McKee to a meal, no matter what meal, they would pray prior to eating and get all at the table to join-in. Not all THAT strange, but the man I called on would bring his wife to everything and she would always ask me why I wasn't married. Then she would go on to say, "now your folks must be really annoyed that you haven't married yet". Having said all that, I don't think they every laid off any employee and if you work for them you have a job for life. That is, if you're willing to live in Chattanooga, TN.
As for the chemistry, Little Debbie snack cakes are made of high quality ingredients. Same as you'd find in any Kraft or Nabisco product, but they are heavy on high fructose corn syrup!
OMG! That's the nickname for my mangina!
YOU ALL TYPE FAT!
My family did business with them for decades.
In a nutshell, they ran super efficient bakeries, they kept their costs low, and for years most of the employees were college kids from the local bible college. That said, they were VERY progressive with benefits and profit sharing which was unheard of back then. They also didn't do their own distribution. They sold through distributors, and back then that was unheard of, but it really reduced their costs.
Their big secret was that everything they baked had a shelf life 3 or 4 times as long as their competition. That meant it basically never went stale it would sit on the shelf for weeks when the competition like Hostess Cake went stale in a matter of days. They stayed fresh, not with chemicals, but good design. You see, all the Little Debbie products have a cream or other soft center. That's surrounded by cake, and then the product is covered (enrobed) with chocolate or some other icing.
What that does is this--the cream center provides moisture so the cake stays moist, and the chocolate covering keeps the moisture from escaping. The cake stays fresh and moist for weeks. As I recall (and it's been decades) the shelf life of a Swiss Roll was either 6 or 7 weeks.
The old generation (long dead) were fantastic people. They really did believe in building a business, giving back to the community, and taking care of their employees. They were very religious, but in an Old School way where they never advertised it or held it against you if they weren't. I'm sure they grew wealthy, but you would never have known it by the way they lived.
Old Mr. McKee walked in one day when he was in his 50's and announced that he had a secret--he had never learned to read or write, and he was tired of faking it. He hired a tutor and learned, but from then on he (quietly) gave significant amounts to adult literacy programs all across America.
Sorry I can't be more interesting, but Little Debbie is one brand I have nothing but good things to say about. We sold their products for 30 years on nothing but a handshake.
And yes, "Debbie" was a real person, their daughter, and she worked in the office. If you called down there the odds were good she would be the one who answered the phone.
We might know each other, R10. For sure we know many of the same people.
I've been out of it for 25 years though.
But don't they have trans fats or am I thinking of another brand?
R13 that's entirely possible. I worked for a chemical company and sold food ingredients to McKee for about 5 years as a sales rep. I'm in my mid-30's. I really can't say anything bad about McKee and the guy I called on there still calls me on my birthday without fail.
Thanks for the Debbie backstories, only some of which I knew before, R10 & R13. Some bits of that smart product design were always apparent to me...it's apparently more efficient to slice up and enrobe sheet cakes than bake and ice individual cupcakes, for instance.
I'll turn a blind eye to the religious aspect seeing as they're good, American entrepreneurs and all. And Debbie's stuff is generally cheap and good enough.
Somehow I don't think Debbie is all that little.
AS long as we're talking baking, the company that always fascinated me was Chelsea Milling Company, the makers of the Jiffy Mix products.
Privately owned by the same family for 100 years, they make those little boxes of mix so cheaply and efficiently that they literally have no competition. Even the Wal-Marts don't bother trying to sell their store brands against them, because Jiffy is so fucking cheap there's no point to it.
Their market share is huge, every retailer in the country stocks their product, and they have no competition anywhere near their price point.
It seems like a dream business.
Haven't had Lil Debbie in 25 years when my late Grandma used to have them around. They were always oddly "waxy" to me. Is it a Southern thing? Anyone remember when they found worms in Archway cookies?
I once asked if the Christmas Tree cakes were made differently and they told me they are made exactly the same way, but since they were likely made and put on the shelves around the same time, they were fresher than other snack cakes and therefore tasted better.
We always saw them as the snack food poor kids had to eat because they couldn't afford Drakes or Entenmanns.
I used to love the oatmeal creme cookies but now all I think when I see Lil Debbie's is how much weird artificial junk must be in them.
[R13] restored my faith in Lil Deb. I'm buying a box tomorrow!!! (but waiting till after the new year to eat....dieting right now)
Love R13's story! I used to eat Little Debbie's as a kid on a near daily basis. I used to love slowly peeling the thin chocolate layer off the Swiss rolls, pretending the cake inside was a rolled up carpet. The Nutter bars were also fun to separate layer by layer. Oatmeal pies... the trees.. brings back memories!
I haven't eaten one in nearly 20 years but may have to go by a box soon just for the memories.
I heard the oatmeal cakes were made from the food scraps off the other stuff they make.
The kids love them
I bought a box of Little Debbie chocolate cupcakes a few weeks ago, they didn't seem as chocolatey as they once were and they sure aren't as cheap as they used to be.
The cupcakes also looked smaller too!
These companies have to stop messing with their ingredients, even Hershey's chocolates no longer taste the way they used to!
r30 Your taste buds are just aging dear. Nothing tastes the same when you have grown up.
Used to love the Swiss Rolls, Oatmeal Creme Pies and Star Crunches. Haven't had any in years but I find their constant presence on the grocery store endcap comforting. Nice to read they're a good company.
I love the slight saltiness of the icing on the Zebra Cakes.
I remember in the late 80s - early 90s, the catchphrase for Li'l Debbie baked goods was "SNATCH one today!" It was on all the Li'l Debbie trucks (at least in LA).
It made me laugh.