Little Debbie Is Making A Big Exit From Canada

There's an old saying: "When the U.S. sneezes, Canada catches a cold," (via RBC WealthManagement). It's not meant as disparaging; rather, it refers to a concern among Canadians that their nation's overall well-being is inextricably intertwined with whatever is going on in the U.S. — with whom the British Commonwealth nation shares the longest international land border on the planet (per Statista). 

It's a reality the U.S. does not take for granted, per the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada. However, Canada's dependence on the U.S. extends not only to big picture issues such as climate change and clean energy but also to smaller day-to-day matters. And sometimes one can't help but sweat the small stuff. Such is the case with the exit of Little Debbie snack cakes from Canadian retail shelves.

Little Debbie came to prominence in the U.S. starting in 1960 with the introduction of its Oatmeal Creme Pie and entered the Great White North's retail market in 1996. Quickly captivating Canadian snack cake fans, Little Debbie cakes became a staple of Canadian retail stores, one that Canadians of all ages have come to expect they'd always see on shelves, if not in their own pantries. But the end of an era has arrived. On November 30, McKee Foods announced the exit of Little Debbie from Canada, possibly forever, per CTV News.

Little Debbie takes off from the Great White North

Little Debbie has long sold its snack cakes throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, and on U.S. military bases throughout the world. But that's no longer true for Canada, per CTV News – nor for U.S. military bases, as Stars and Stripes reported on the latter on September 2. Company spokesperson Mike Gloekler advised Stars and Stripes that with regard to military bases, the issue was increased distribution costs. With regard to Little Debbie's exit from Canada, LeeDaily reported on December 3 that the brand's sole Canadian distributor terminated its distributorship with the Tennessee-based company. No reason was given, and Canadians are both confused and stricken by the news.

But for days now, the disappearance of Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies, Swiss Cake Rolls, Nutty Buddy Wafer Bars, and other favorites from Canadian shelves has already been in progress. One Twitter user expressed their discontent: "How can I get some little debbies !! Please !!! I have no problem paying , I just need my little Debbie's !!" Mike Gloekler, corporate communications and public relations manager for McKee Foods, stated on behalf of Little Debbie that while the decision was not the company's to make, it's "not actively searching for a new distributor relationship in the Canada market," (via Food Business News). 

It's not clear at present whether it's just the snack cakes, or if Little Debbie's big Canadian exit will also apply to its recent partnership with Kellogg Cereal.