Goodbye To Postum and Derby Tamales

Kraft Foods and ConAgra Foods, like most mega-consumer products companies these days, have limited use for “niche” brands. These are brands with limited by loyal following, especially when tastes change over the years.

So it is sad to report that, despite years of survival as the “red-headed stepchild” of these companies’ pantry of brands, we must say farewell to two of the quirkier ones:

Kraft discontinues Postum beverage

Postum, the original product from C.W. Post, whose cereal company would grow over most of the 20th century into the huge General Foods before eventually being swallowed by Kraft, is history. This caffeine-free “roasted grain beverage” had a devoted following, as witnessed by frantic “help, I can’t find Postum anymore!” postings online (a sure sign that a product has been unceremoniously discontinued). Postum was discontinued in 2007, but its absence was not apparent to most until they ran out again. As proof that consumers feel ownership of brands, posts online express hurt and betrayal that “no notice was given” of its impending demise. Sort of like preparing for the death of an old friend?

Ironically, Kraft has given up on the surviving Post cereals, as well. They simply couldn’t tolerate being Number 3 (after Kellogg’s and General Mills) in such a competitive category, and threw in the towel by jettisoning the venerable brand to Ralcorp. Ralcorp, in another twist, is the shell of the once-proud Ralston-Purina. The pet foods now part of Nestle, and the cereals like Chex sold to General Mills, Ralcorp held on to the still lucrative store brand cereals – sort of the “Ralston” part of the business. Now, they have Post, a still strong brand. Expect the company to assume the more well-known Post name soon.

Goodbye to Derby Tamales

ConAgra answered a consumer’s inquiry on February 13, 2009 thusly (found via a search for “Derby tamales”):

“We are . . . sorry to inform you that we no longer produce Derby® Beef Tamales. As consumers’ preferences for products change, so do the varieties of our products. Only the products with the greatest consumer appeal remain on the store shelves over time. Unfortunately, this product did not have enough consumer interest for us to continue manufacturing it.”

Derby tamales came in a jar, and I have to admit, did not seem all that appealing. But it was the namesake of a company, Derby Foods Inc., more famous for another product that continues to survive: Peter Pan peanut butter. Derby Foods was bought by Swift & Co., the famous meat packing company, then always went with whichever conglomerate bought its successor, Hunt-Wesson Foods. (Hunt-Wesson’s owner, Norton Simon, merged with Swift’s owner, Esmark, years ago, and took Derby Foods grocery lines under its name.)

That Derby tamales survived this long is probably a small miracle given today’s companies’ desire to only keep the Number 1 or Number 2 brands (MAYBE Number 3-except Kraft, see Postum above) in any given category-as long as the category is a big one.

Postum and Derby seemingly had their categories all to themselves, but with a category like “canned tamales” or “coffee substitute”, their days were numbered. With their demise, these categories disappear, too.



  1. Back in the 70’s, I was a supervisor at Derby Foods, in Chicago. I worked 3rd shift on the Peter Pan side of the plant, but still remember the Tamale side that ran 1st shift only. Just walking by the room where the kept the seasonings was almost enough to give you a “tamale high” Just prior to my working there, Swift had discontinued Derby chicken in a jar. It was a good company to work for back then. They payed the workforce well and you just about had to be recommended, to get a job there. By the way, you could smell the peanut butter 2 blocks away. Ymmm

    1. Derby Tamales were a product ahead of it’s time it’s seems consumers were not aware thru Advertising and sound Marketing of the product quality word of mouth and a savvy consumer who recognized a tamale with a corn based outer layer with an acquired palette are the only ones who understood even today its had to find a corn based tamale in Mexican restaurants certainly not at the grocery store again derby was way ahead of its time.

  2. Can not believe this, been looking all over for the tamales for a long time. My wife passed away in Oct 2012 and we were still eating them from our supply at home. One can of chilli’s and a jar of tamals made a meal for us.

  3. Everyone who left messages on here go to conagra and let them know how you feel. They don’t see our comments here.

  4. Loved these things, please Bring the tamales back. People will buy.

  5. Miss Derby Tamales. Hormel are definitely not the taste. Have been forced to buy La Prefereda in can which are very oily but taste better than the other brands. You can’t even buy decent tasting tamales at the Mexican restaurants. Please bring them back it appears that there is a demand.

  6. I so miss the Derby tamales. I grew up with them and so did my kids. It may have been a small niche for the tamales but it was a dedicated niche. Nothing else comes close.

  7. NOOOOO !!!! Bring back the Derby Tamales. They are the only ones I love.

  8. Please, please bring back the Derby tamales in a jar. Didn’t realize they were discontinued till I found this site. Must have looked in at least 100 different types of stores to no avail. Hubby likes these best. Canned are so so once in a while. Everyone rally and tell the company to bring them back and for the stores to stock a bigger amount.


  10. I married a Mexican so I could continue eating tamales. I don’t regret marrying her but her tamales don’t have the flavor of Derby. The regional varieties of tamales in Mexico don’t come close to my beloved “tamales in a jar” Please bring them back.

  11. I finally searched the Internet to try to find the tamales in a jar, after searching every grocery store I go to in So CA. What a convenience it was to have the Derby’s. Let’s just say au’revoir to them; not good-bye! And keep hope alive!

  12. I’ve had Derby tamales since I was a kid and LOVED them!!!!❤️
    So then I switched to El Monterey which aren’t quite as good, but really not bad –
    Then they were dropped from ALL the groceries in Cincinnati – Meijer’s in Dayton is the closest grocery thst carries them.
    And like everyone has said, Hormel’s are HORRIBLE?!!!
    Someone needs to buy the Derby name and recipe, because as you can see, there are a LOT of people who miss them – HELLO!, there is a READY MADE MARKET out there!!!!

  13. I saw a recipe for Delta tamales, which are completely different than the traditional Latin or TexMex version, the latter being very time consuming and yielding a different texture and taste. I’m thinking the Derby tamales were made in the Delta way, with corn meal and ground beef rather than shredded pork and masa harina. I’ve never made tamales, but I’m going to try to make Delta tamales. There’s several recipes out there . Google delta tamales.

  14. To all other Derby Tamale lovers: If you’d like, please feel free to copy my note below and use it as your own to contact Conagra and let them know you’d like to see Derby Tamales back on our store shelves.

    Dear Conagra…I have been searching for Derby Tamales in the glass jars for the last few years. Not being able to find them, I kept thinking the stores were simply sold out. Tonight I learned Conagra has discontinued this item from it’s line of foods. This is very disappointing news! I’ve tried the Hormel brand and they aren’t even close when it comes to taste and texture. I understand your company is continually making changes to what you feel consumers spend their money on. With Mexican flavors being more popular today than they were ten years ago, why not bring back the Derby Tamales? There are only two other brands of tamales on grocery store shelves that I’m aware of. The Derby brand, as it used to be, would certainly win all taste tests. Please review and reconsider your earlier decision to remove Derby Tamales from our grocery store shelves. I, among many, would be a most grateful consumer. Thank you for your time in reading of my concerns.

  15. I’ve been searching for Derby Tamales for the last few years. Like someone else said, I kept thinking the stores were sold out. Those of us who want our Derby Tamales to return to our grocery store shelves should do a little research to see what other grocery items Conagra owns. Buy a competitor’s brand instead but send a short note to Conagra to let them know why you’re buying their competing brands. This is a link to their brands:
    If enough shoppers were to do this, they might listen to our voices and bring back our Derby Tamales. It sure wouldn’t hurt to try. Those canned tamales are awful. I want the ones in the glass jars!

  16. My Aunt worked t Derbys and would get my Dad a case for us every month. They were 59 cents on sale. I would go to the corner store (H & M 51st & Loomis in Chicago) to buy them. God I miss them. I have Cancer and my dying wish would to see them come back.

  17. My Aunt worked t Derbys and would get my Dad a case for us every month. They were 59 cents on sale. I would go to the corner store (H & M 51st & Loomis in Chicago) to buy them. God I miss them. I have Cancer and my ying wish would to see them come back.

  18. You what think the the manufacturer would bring back Derby tamales after scene all the requests for them.

  19. Please bring them back, Iam 73 was raised with the tamales in glass jar, they were delicious . I have looked for ever for them and not aware they were discontinued, I can buy fresh any time but does not taste the same and the sauce was excellent . If that be the case can we purchase the recipe . Would like to here from you please. In Michigan. 248-6250430. Thank you

  20. We kept the last empty washed jar for years. The cans ones are not nearly as good but that is all there is. We will always miss Derby tamales.

  21. My grandmother, my mother and I have been eating Derby Hot Tamales for years and years. All of the sudden they couldn’t be found. I miss them so much. I’d order them by the case if they’d decide to produce just one more large order for we who are still going through withdrawal! I’ve tried other canned brands but they are not even close to the Derby Brand!

  22. Please bring the derby tamales back to the stores!! They were awesome.

  23. please bring the denby tamales back to the stores,they were the best,like most people say the can tamales stink and taste like a can,PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE,come back to our stores

  24. Mom’s been very unhappy we were brought up eating the tamales. BRING THEM BACK!

  25. All of these tamales are pretty the same. I never thought much of Derby compared to Hormel.

  26. Look at the stores every time I go to find these awesome tamales. I thought they were always sold out, because that was usually the problem. I am heartbroken they are not made any more. Will never find better tamales, and the sauce was great. I would do all I could to get every last drop out of the jar.

  27. I want to scream and cry at the same time. You had the best so now you don’t make it…only in America

  28. I’m still waiting for them to bring derby tamales back. No others comparem

  29. I have been looking for Derby Tamales for years. Now I find out for sure that you don’t produce them anymore. That is just completely wrong!!!! Bring them back from what I can see there are many people that loved them and want you to resume making them!!! My family ate them for years so I do not see how you can say that they were not selling just from the looks of the above comments. Please make them again my family would love your forever.

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  31. bring back derby tomales ! ! ! !

  32. I’ll never buy a ConAgra product again!

  33. Bring back the derby tamales. They were the best.

  34. Hey everyone! El rio hot tamales with chili sauce taste exactly like derby tamales. I definitely believe you should try!

  35. Derby beef tamales – I would buy a case at a time. I miss 🙁 them so much. Please bring them back……

  36. Postum is available at the Vermont Country Store.

  37. Please bring back Derby tamales!! They are the best by far! The can tamales are terrible!!

  38. Bring them back listen to the people everyone i mean everyone wants them and the people fired that got rid of them… You make what the people want read all the people writing get the clue.. Boycott your other products.. Don’t think for us your not a good judge…

  39. Please we have been looking for them forever and could not understand the stores. So my daughter google it and this is what she found. Many people wanting these tamales and you are not making them anymore.
    I think you should bring them back in the glass jar as they were very appealing the jar and they were GOOD!!!
    Please reconsider and bring them back!!

  40. I MISS my Derby Tamales. We have used them for over 60+ years (my family when I was a child) then our children. Hubby had NEVER had them until we were married. NOW I cannot find them any more. We ALWAYS liked them because: 1) they were NOT greasy like many of the other brands; 2) they had a far superior TASTE than other brands; 3) you could SEE what you were buying in that GLASS JAR. PLEASE, PLEASE bring them back…PLEASE!

  41. I grew up with Derby. Delicious.
    Please bring them back.

  42. I can’t believe I finally found something on these tamales. I’ve eaten them all my life and for the life of me couldn’t remember the name of them. Now I find them and find out they are no longer being made!!!! This is terrible! I’ve looked all over for these tamales. Please bring them back.

  43. Okay, must have been some one that did like tamales to decide for the rest of us that the glass jar Derby had to be retired. The nerve of taking an American Icon of fast heat and serve away from us and the best tasting in a jar away from us! Shame on you! We miss you Derby beef tamales! COME BACK TO US!

  44. what were you thinking when you guys took derby tamales off the shelves and out the mouths of millions bring them TAMALES BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. I WANT DERBY TAMALES BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOMEONE DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OUR WHOLD FAMILY LOVES THEM…pleaseeeeeeeee bring them back. I guarantee to buy 100 jars a year!!

  46. My husband and I have been searching for the Derby Tamales for about 3 years now. I just found out on this website that Derby has followed Castleberry Barbeque Pork to the realms of our memories. I am heartbroken. When we go out to eat, the food doesn’t taste the same even 10 years ago. I cannot get my food cooked well done. We could always count on Derby and Castleberry’s. These always tasted perfect. I agree with the other people on this site, the ones that decided to discontinue these item are IDIOTS!!! I would put that in red if I could. I know they will never bring them back and even if they did they would not taste as good as the original. To me, that is not progress.

  47. I too am 47 and MISSING MY DERBY TAMALES. MY KIDS MISS THEM TOO. Funny no one who works at grocery stores could ever answer why they didn’t have them. I too have tried the canned they are not the same… i used to crumble crackers into the sauce after my tamales were finished. To get ever last delicious bit of my Derby….. bring them back

  48. I am 47 years old and grew up with the best. It was Derby in the jar.Five other brothers and sisters on a strict family buget.Derby was always standing next to us in every compition in life we had to overtake.Sound crazy but a poor family will never forget the simple things in life that made us all reach our goals.Delicious forever you will always be.Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

  49. My Grandfather whom raised me would turn over in his grave to know this. His name was O.Z. Smith and worked and retired from Derby foods in 1974.
    As the rest of you this was a staple of our weekly diet along with Peter Pan Peanut Butter and the Derby Chicken and Noodles (oh my God my mouth waters now). I was raised on these products (Oh the Chili too) as a child from 1959 till they vanished slowly off the shelves. This all happened after Swift / Con-Agra idiots came to reign.
    The only thing left from that era is Peter Pan peanut butter and my Grandfathers retirement plaque and Peter Pan cufflinks and tie clasp made by Anson Jewelry he received for all the loyal years he worked at Derby Foods in Chicago.
    I miss him more than the Tamales but would love to have one meal with my grandchildren to introduce them to the awesome Derby Tamales and Chicken soup. Con-Agra I boycott you and have Jiff in my pantry. As should everyone else.

  50. Ridiculous, those Derby Tamales were a tradition for years with my family. We loved them and now we will miss them. Bring them back.

  51. They were a staple in our house growing up. I really miss them. So sad they”re gone. The rest just don’ t compare. Bring them back………you can have the “Twinkies” instead. We’ll trade.

  52. ConAgra did the same thing to Wolf Brand tamales after they bought that brand. I used to eat both Derby and Wolf Brand, but I have to say that the demise of the Wolf Brand tamales is more painful than the passing of the Derby brand…Wolf Brand tamales were plump, with a thick, flavorful blanket of masa, and the filling was delicious and high quality. It’s a shame what these corporate Goliaths do to historical products.

  53. Derby Tamales, one of my favorite foods as a child. I went vegetarian in 1971, so didn’t eat them after that. The vegetarian tamales sold by Whole foods and others are not even close. The tortilla wrap is thin and the tamales are painfully hot in flavor. Surely somebody could come close to the Derby texture and seasoning?



  56. I have been eating Derby tamales for about 40 years. Please bring them back you dumb asses!

  57. What is wrong with your marketing people. Look at all the e mail think about those that do not have this ability. I am 70 and have eaten my share and really miss this product. With all the Hispanic people now in the Illinois area this product would fly off the shelve


    My mother introdeced Derby tamales to me when I was about ten years old and now i’m 33. I have recently intorduced my wife to tamales and she loves them. I kept telling her how much she would like the Derby tamales once I could find them. Like most that have posted above, I searched every grocery store in town and came up empty handed. Today, I decided to search online for them so that I could show my wife how great they are and I came across this article….

    ……it is a very sad day, my wife and my children will never get to enjoy a Derby tamale………..they will never know how much better Derby tamales are than the canned competition.

    Can we band together and somehow bring these things back. I hate that I have to buy the canned version for a fix and that my wife and kids will never know how great a tamale can really be!

    I’m thinking of finding out how they made them and bringing them back.

    …..All you tamale lovers be on the lookout for “Matt’s Tamales” in a glass jar!

  59. For those who want to contact the manufactor:
    Derby Foods Inc
    3327 W 47th Pl, Chicago, IL 60632

  60. I would stock up our panty with Derby beef tamales and everytime my grandchildern would come over, they would ask to have those tamales in a jar. I have 18 grandchildern and everyone of them loved Derby tamales. I agree with everybody in here, they need to bring this product back to market.

  61. This is what happens when companies are bought up by other companies.Why can’t they just leave things be?

  62. I can’t believe how many Derby Tamale lovers are out there! I as well has searched and searched for them. Hope the powers to be will hear us, and start selling them again!

  63. Either bring them back or at least post the receipe!

  64. Bring em back life is bad when ma ma gets a craving for a jar of derbys

  65. we have also enjoyed the derby tamales for years . i cant understand why the people that are head of these companies dont understand that , all of us are customers that are saying that we would buy this product if it were on the market . lets see there’s how many people that are looking for work and no jobs . with all these people that you have writing on this site , i think i would take another look at this product . thanks for the memories

  66. I was raised on Derby Tamales and raised my children on them. Now it’s time to give them to my grandchildren and they are gone. I like them better than the tamales you get at a Mexican resturant. I miss miss miss them. I buy several things on line that I can’t get in the stores anymore but now I see you have just quit making them. Bummer. If I had known you were going to do this I would have bought up all I could find to last me at least a little while longer. Please bring them back!!!!!

  67. I miss Derby Tamales…and it sounds as if alot of people do…bring them back and think about advertising. Chef-boy-ar-d- pizza changed their sauce too and that newer crap I won’t buy anymore…if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  68. I agree with Brett W. Nothing compares to Derby Tamales. I guess my question is, does anybody from the company look at this site and read the comments or is all of this for naught? I should print all of these comments and actually mail them to the CEO. So much positive feedback for a product, you would think they should give it some consideration. It certainly would be a best seller.

  69. No wonder I can’t find them. All the others are terrible. Who decides these things. No warnings so people can let you know this is not what we want. I know lots others who are still out there looking. BRING THEM BACK!!!!!!!

  70. I have been looking for the last 2 years for Derby Tamales from store to store and most recently went to Jungle Jim’s which specializes in odd, unusual products that no one else has. None to be found. I can’t believe there is this big of a demand for a product that no longer exists yet the company who made it does not bring it back. Produce it and I will by it via mail order like I do with Jack Stack barbeque sauce for chicken on the grill. Derby Tamales were the best. I am going to boycott the company that did this and tell everyone on Facebook to join the boycott until they bring it back!

  71. I miss the Derby Hot tamale. Why does everything that tastes good is always being discontinued for bad tasting replacements.

  72. The last time I looked for DERBY hot tomales somone else was also looking. We went to the office to ask about them but no one told us they had been killed off. Please search your warehouse for hidden or overlooked case of them and please let me know how many you find. I will buy all af them. I don’t even care if the expiration date is past. I’ll buy them anywy. I can’t live without DERBY hot tomales on rye with onion and mustard. DO YOU THNK THIS IS A MARKETING PLOY??? TAKE THEM OFF THE MARKET, MAKE PEOPLE GET UPSET, STIR UP RENEWED INTEREST AND MAGICALY LET THE REAPPEAR. OK we’re upset now give them back.

  73. I was told that Postum had NO nutritional value by several doctors and four different store managers. They are most likely thinking the same about Tamales. We need to send a STRONG MESSAGE to these companies that UNITED STATES Citizens have a choice of what they decide to eat. This is why we live in the U.S., not a government controlled country that controls what you do. These Food Companies are listening to the GOVERNMENT stating the more than 65% of United States Citizens are OVERWEIGHT.

    I urge everyone to protest by writing these companies telling them you will be boycotting their products. I would make sure which other companies they own before writing the letter. The companies are buying up the companies that sell similar products. The problem is they are not selling the most purchased products like Drake’s and pushing their Hostess line. The People in Baltimore have gone against the Hostess line and purchase the Drake Cakes from Baltimore/DC thru Maine.

    The marketing companies these companies are using are telling the companies things that will help only the marketing companies. They do not seem to be helping companies like Drakes, since Hostess is the main company they made the Drake name small & the signature duck removed and added the HOSTESS named in large letters. This is causing Drakes to lose business because it is confusing loyal customers that will not deal with HOSTESS.

  74. Ive also tried differnt canned tamales in my tamale pie receipe and agree with all here “they suck”

  75. Well, I’ve been angry with the grocery stores in my town for not stocking Derby Tamales for some time. I just decided to find them and order several cases of them, and this is what I find! They became obsolete because of some stupid marketing people? Another attack of the BEAN COUNTERS!!! Of course they weren’t selling like they should have. You were in process of killing them off by not providing enough of them in the stores or by not marketing them! How can this many people be wrong! We loved them! Well, we will die off too one day, I guess.

  76. My son and I want Postum back!!!

  77. I will not buy any con agra product!!!!!!!

  78. I would love to have some derby tamales right now!!!!!!!

  79. Well, it has been a year since I had derby tamales. I get a craving for them every now and again and it has been within the past year that I had them, so, I went to Schnuck’s and asked a clerk who tried to help me find them – to no avail, but she did say that she frequently had requests for them from people who had their grocies delivered. Wonder how long them had been making them.

  80. you get me hooked on derby tamales can,t find
    a better tamale on the market maybe you shold have gotten rid of the person or persons responible for promotion,s

  81. I grew up on Derby Tamales. I think an ad campaign might have been a better idea than taking them off the market. At least the mystery is solved, and I can stop looking for them. And to the genius who decided to 86 another American classic, I hope you’ve been fired by now.


  83. My sister has been looking all over for the Derby Tamales. My mom loved them and my sister for some reason was craving the Derby Tamales and could not find any. So I got on line thinking I would order her some and with great disappointment have discovered they are discontinued. With this information I am now craving some. Any chance of them coming back?

  84. We too are disappointed and hope to see them on the shelves again. My husband loves them and they were a real treat when I bought them!
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  85. I used to heat the Derby hot tamales for my dad as his favorite evening snack. He introdud my son who is 46, TO THE Derby brand and he loved them too. I stocked my son’s cupboard with them and when he ran out he was so disapointed not to be able to get them. He had eaten them for at least 43 years. I bought him some canned by Hormel but they ARE NOT Derby. Please think about starting to make them again. Middletown, Ohio, near Cincinnati.