Pinnacle Foods: Bring Back Duncan Hines Guides

In the 20th century, one of the most notable guides to food and hospitality on the road was Duncan Hines’ Adventures in Good Eating. The story is simple; Duncan Hines, a traveling salesman, kept voluminous notes on the places that he traveled in the United States. He loved good restaurants and hotels.

He got so many requests for the information that he published Adventures in Good Eating. It was a hit book; the Duncan Hines brand became synonymous with quality food. Eventually, “Approved by Duncan Hines” became like Zagat or Mobil, a coveted rating that indicated cleanliness, good taste and value. Read the reissued book by Mercer University Press by clicking on the photo above. Looking back at it, it is very well written and much more clever than expected.

The brand was so powerful that Hines created a line of cake mixes under the brand. The institute folded as the Duncan Hines cake mixes succeeded. Eventually, the brand was sold to Proctor & Gamble, and then sold to New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods, which owns the intellectual property today. Pinnacle owns dozens of other top brands including Mrs. Butterworth’s, Vlasic, Van de Kamp’s and Hungry Man.

The brand position: The brand today is relegated to food mixes and baking in grocery aisles. But the brand is so much more than that. Hines’ dry, frank and concise writings are classic, and the brand “position” is perfect for today’s jaded, TripAdvisor-reading traveler who wants an honest look at food and travel:

Some Hines-isms:

  • “Whipped cream has its place. Ripe olives have theirs. Pickles are nice. But let’s be reasonable.”
  • “Have you ever tried a few drops of Worcestershire sauce on bacon before broiling? It does things to it.”


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. I have a 1957 electric coffeepot that needs a small basket for coffee grounds. Can I order this basket. Let me know where or if I can order it.
    Thank you.
    D. Wright

  2. You are absolutely right that the brand is so much more than packaged mixes! Duncan Hines was born and laid to rest in Bowling Green, KY, and a museum exhibit dedicated to his career is now here at the Kentucky Library & Museum. And yes, his dry, down home comments were what made him so likeable to many Americans looking for someone’s opinion they could trust. Leave it up to a good ‘ole boy from Kentucky… and Colonel Sander’s Cafe was “Recommended by Duncan Hines” long before he sold his famous recipe!

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