Wonder Bread

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Wonder Bread

Wonder Bread has been a favorite of Americans since its introduction in 1921. The vitamin-enriched soft white bread is easily identified by its white plastic wrapper decorated with pictures of red, yellow, and blue balloons. Legend has it that Wonder Bread outsold all other brands during the first week of its sales by the Taggart Baking Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Purchased by Continental Baking Company in 1925, Wonder Bread soon became a national brand.

Wonder Bread's bakers have incorporated technology to make the product new and better while at the same time maintaining an image of its wholesome goodness. Wonder Bread was among the first breads sold in plastic wrappers in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Wonder Bread was among the first breads to be sold presliced. During World War II (1939–45), Wonder Bread joined a government effort to enrich breads with essential nutrients. This effort has been called the "quiet miracle" because it brought affordable nutrition to a great number of people and nearly eliminated some diseases, such as beriberi and pellagra. (Beriberi is caused by lack of thiamine, or vitamin B in the diet; pellagra, by a lack of niacin, a B complex vitamin.) In the 1940s, Wonder Bread employed a baking process that ensured each slice would be free of air holes.

Advertising has helped make Wonder Bread popular. Wonder Bread was one of the first products to be promoted on the radio in the 1920s. It also sponsored the first regular color television show, The Howdy Doody Show (see entry under 1940s—TV and Radio in volume 3) in the 1940s. With catchy tunes, popular characters, and ad campaigns such as "Helps build strong bodies 8 ways" (later "12 ways"), Wonder Bread remains a favorite food of children.

—Sara Pendergast

For More Information

Wonderbread.com.http://www.wonderbread.com (accessed January 23, 2002).