Little Debbie smiles up from North American lunch bags. McKee Foods' Little Debbie is one of the nation's best-known brands of snack cakes, named for and featuring the smiling face of the 4-year-old granddaughter of the company's late founders: O. D. and Ruth McKee. Founded in 1934, McKee also makes ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, granola, creme-filled cookies, crackers, and snack bars. It counts more than 160 varieties of Little Debbie-brand products. McKee's baked goods are available in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The bakery is still owned and operated by the McKee family, including CEO Mike McKee and the real Little Debbie, Debbie McKee-Fowler, who is an EVP.
In addition to Little Debbie, the company's brand names include Sunbelt (granola bars, cereals, and fruit-flavored snacks) and Fieldstone Bakery (cookies, foodservice only). McKee also owns Blue Planet Foods, which makes granola cereals and pre-formed crumb pie crusts sold under the Heartland brand name.
Product development is key in the highly competitive snack market, and McKee Foods steadily puts out offerings to keep it in the forefront of the snack-food world. It has introduced Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes in keeping with the popularity of cupcakes (and also to compete head-to-head with rival Hostess Brands). McKee also offers smaller versions of its Little Debbies. Containing only 100 calories each, they are aimed at consumers watching their weight. Family packs of individually wrapped treats and consistently low prices also drive sales.
McKee has operations in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia. The company's Little Debbie products are produced at its facilities in Arkansas and in Collegedale, Tennessee.
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