The closing of Hostess Brands continues to affect thousands of Utah residents everyday. Since the company closed its doors, two of the breads approved by the Utah Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, a food assistance program, have been discontinued, leaving some who rely on the program without any options for bread.
Sixty seven thousand people currently use Utah’s WIC program. Linda Schiele, Vendor Manager for the State’s program explains how it works.
“It’s a program that provides nutritional foods for low income families with a nutritional risk. It provides vitamins A, C and D., healthy foods. It’s different than food stamps in that the items that the person can purchase are specific items.”
Specific items like whole wheat bread sold in 16 oz. loaves; food that used to be provided by Hostess.
“Before Hostess went out of business we had Sara Lee, Wonder Bread and Home Pride and when Hostess went out of business it made it almost impossible for us to get bread in all of the rural areas.”
That’s because Hostess owned Wonder Bread and Home Pride, two of the three brands that were delivering the most bread to WIC users. Now, Dave Davis, President of the Utah Food Association says he is working with WIC providers to get more companies making bread that fits the federal guidelines and more trucks delivering the Sara Lee Bread that is already approved out to rural areas.
"Bimbo bakery has stepped up in a big way specifically to get this size and type of bread out to rural communities. They’ve partnered with Associated Food stores, to be able to put these items on the Associated Food stores trucks that are going out to these areas, Davis said.
Recently the Smith’s brand 16 oz. 100 % whole wheat round top bread was authorized for WIC clients. In the coming weeks, DUnfored bakers with begin proving two new 16 oz. varieties that are WIC approved as well.