March 14, 2022
National Pi Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate not only the wonderful mathematics constant that begins with 3.14, but it’s also a day where we can celebrate the wonderful invention known as pie. One of humanity’s great accomplishments, the American Pie Council (APC), estimates that nearly $700 million of these filled pastry dough creations are sold in U.S. grocery stores alone.
In honor of March 14th observing National Pi Day (or 3.14), here are several companies in the business of providing one of the nation’s favorite desserts.
Though perhaps best known for its Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Zingers brands, many Americans have fond memories of going to the store and picking up the hand-held apple, cherry, blueberry, lemon Hostess Fruit Pies by Hostess Brands, Inc. (Tii:TWNK). Though the fame of these fruit pies – which were very popular in the 1980s – may have waned, Hostess Brands itself is faring pretty well, having reported a 16.1% increase in fourth-quarter net revenues. Fans of the company’s baked products will be excited to learn that Hostess plans to convert an idled factory in Arkadelphia, Ark., into a state-of-the-art bakery and add 150 new jobs over the next three years to keep up with demand.
With a host of brands in its portfolio – including SuperPretzel, Icee, Whole Fruit, Country Home and others, it’s easy to overlook the fact that J & J Snack Foods Corp. (Tii:JJSF) also produces the Hill & Valley brand of sugar-free and no sugar added desserts. This brand’s low/no-sugar offerings include a lineup of pies in virtually every popular flavor: apple, blueberry, cherry, coconut crème, peach, pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato, lemon meringue, and more. While not a core part of J&J Snack Foods business, pie sales contributed to a 32% increase in first-quarter net sales.
ConAgra Brands Inc (Tii:CAG) also has a presence in the pie business. Among its multitude of brands is Reddi Wip whipped cream (a favored topping on many pies) and the Duncan Hines lineup of pie fillings. The consumer packaged food giant also owns Marie Callender’s and its portfolio of 19 flavors of frozen dessert pies and nearly two dozen varieties of heat-and-serve pot pies. With a history that dates back to the 1940s, the Marie Callender brand started when the namesake entrepreneur began selling homemade pies to local restaurants in Orange, California. By the mid-1960s, Callender’s family opened their first pie and coffee shop that eventually expanded into a chain.
A venerable brand whose history dates back more than 150 years, Pillsbury has long offered a line of frozen and refrigerated pie crusts for the home baker. Now a brand of General Mills, Inc. (Tii:GIS), Pillsbury pie crusts are available in regular, deep dish and all-vegetable deep dish. Believe it or not, Target Corp. (Tii:TGT) also has a presence (albeit a very small one) in the pie business. The mega retailer’s in-house brand, Market Pantry, produces a pie filling that was named the best canned cherry pie filling by myrecipes.com.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) credits the Ancient Egyptians as the pie progenitors. They had a honey filling covered in a crusty cake made from oats, wheat, rye or barley. However, one doesn’t need the wisdom of the ancients or a special day to enjoy one of America’s favorite baked treats.
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