Recalls happen. A truck has a faulty brake line. Or a gluten-free snack might have been accidentally processed after a wheat-based snack. Some recalls are precautionary and are just trying to protect consumers from potentially harmful products. Other recalls are initiated because they have been proven to be dangerous and need to pull them off the shelves before consumers get sick or worse.
That’s what has happened to Duncan Hines. The company just issued a recall for 2.4 million boxes of cake mix – just in time to hurt the business this holiday season. The cake mix brand is the United States’ second most popular maker of such confections and might not see its usual spike of sales this holiday season. Not only are many cake boxes taken off the market, but people might also lose confidence in the brand and refuse to purchase from them in the future.
Why is Duncan Hines recalling their cake mixes? It appears there was a salmonella threat that could harm Americans. The recall affects some of the brand’s most popular cake mixes including their Classic White, Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti, and Classic Yellow. The issue has gotten so severe that Duncan Hines’s parent company, Conagra Brands has stepped forward for damage control.
Not only does this recall cost the company a lot of money, but it also comes just in time for the holiday season after a year-long decline in cake mix popularity. In other words, Duncan Hines is in peril.
All cake boxes that are being recalled have an expiration date between March 7-13, 2019. Most of the potentially contaminated boxes were being sold in the United States, but not all. Conagra Brands, based in Chicago, Illinois, admitted that some of the boxes had been sold internationally, which will cost the company even more in shipping costs.
Conagra Brands did not realize their food was tainted – or if they did, they did not say anything. The Food and Drug Administration tested the cake mixes and found that they contained the dangerous salmonella. The FDA informed Conagra Brands about this mistake, and the company initiated the massive recall.
The strain of salmonella in the Duncan Hines cake mix boxes was not new. It was the same strand that has already sickened five people across the States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The FDA warns you not to eat or bake the at-risk Duncan Hines cake mixes. The brand was founded in the early twentieth century. A traveling salesman and restaurant guide author created the company. It is the second only to Betty Crocker cake mixes in popularity.
Although the cake mix market is huge – it is worth about $4 billion – since the economic crash in 2008, it has been steadily declining year over year.
“The lack of growth is not necessarily the result of consumer dissatisfaction,” William Roberts Jr., a Mintel senior food & drink analyst said. “But it is resulting more from a consumer interest in options that are even more convenient and easy.”
Do you have any Duncan Hines cake mixes in your pantry?