Magnolia Bakery is a New York City institution, renowned for its decadent banana pudding and other sweet baked treats. The women of Sex and the City helped make the eatery even more famous by fawning over a batch of Magnolia’s cupcakes, putting the bakery on several must-see Big Apple destinations for SATC fans visiting the show’s more notable locations.

After the chain decided to expand, Magnolia Bakery outposts can be found not just in NYC, but across the U.S. and around the world. Now, the company is extending its reach to store shelves, with products that include a cookie-fied version of its famous banana pudding. To learn more about the company’s history and CPG plans, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery connected with Eddie Revis, chief commercial officer.

Jenni Spinner: Could you please tell us a bit about the origin story of Magnolia Bakery?

Eddie Revis: Magnolia Bakery first opened its doors nearly 30 years ago in NYC’s West Village. The bakery quickly became a neighborhood favorite for its fresh-from-the-oven cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and banana pudding. In 2001, Magnolia Bakery was featured on Sex and the City, catapulting the West Village bakery to worldwide fame.

JS: Then, please tell us about its expansion/growth from the original West Village retail location, to spots across the country. I’m a frequent visitor to Chicago’s State Street outpost, myself.

ER: After seeing the success of our original location—and how frequently customers told us they’d traveled to New York City just to visit Magnolia Bakery—we knew it was time to expand to additional locations and cities. The second NYC Magnolia Bakery location opened up in 2008 on the Upper West Side and our first out-of-NYC location opened in Los Angeles in 2010. Since then, we’ve expanded to 10 locations in the US and over 30 locations internationally, including stores in Dubai, Istanbul, Manila, and Mumbai.

JS: Then, please tell us about Magnolia’s decision to go from retail and jump into the CPG arena. How did the brand decide to make that move, and to start off with the Banana Pudding Cookies?

ER: We’re on a mission to bring the whimsy of Magnolia Bakery’s beloved recipes and flavors to fans in all-new ways and in all-new places. We knew from brand research that the grocery store aisle was one of the most desired places for our fans to discover and experience our brand—in fact, more than 70% of people wanted to see Magnolia Bakery at the grocery store over opening new store locations according to a 2022 brand study. Last March, we launched our first grocery store item, the Banana Pudding Cookies, now available in 2000+ grocery stores across the country. We also knew that fans new and old loved our world-famous Banana Pudding flavor and we had been experimenting with new formats for some time. Now, we’re bringing the joy of Magnolia Bakery to customers across the country in the form of an individually wrapped, soft-baked cookie inspired by our world-famous Banana Pudding. We officially launched into grocery stores in March 2023 and have gone from 0 to 2,000 doors in that timespan!

JS: Now, Magnolia Bakery has its sights set on the expansion of its CPG offerings, and its retail reach. Could you please talk about that—why the time is right to make that move, and how you’re executing that?

ER: As the Banana Pudding Cookie footprint continues to expand and find success, we’re launching new cookie flavors and new formats that will continue to help our fans discover and enjoy our products. Stay tuned for more info!

JS: Specifically, this isn’t an impulsive move on the brand’s part—it’s based on a solid look into consumer behavior and generational preferences. Could you please talk about that a bit?

ER: Absolutely. We know that Gen-Z and millennial consumers are looking for new, exciting, and inventive CPG brands; perhaps more than generations before them ever have. In a brand study from 2022, more than 70% of participants shared they want to see Magnolia Bakery bring products to grocery store shelves over launching new bakeries near them. With the launch of our CPG cookies, we wanted to meet consumers wherever they are to be able to provide bites of joy into their lives. Additionally, this study found that Gen-Z are purchasing fewer items at retail, but spending more on the items they purchase; they're looking for higher-quality, “special occasion” items. We’re leaning into that behavior because our Banana Pudding Cookies, and any CPG product we introduce in the future, will be all about celebrating everyday occasions.

JS: What’s next for Magnolia—feel free to talk about what’s on the horizon for evolving your CPG strategy, as well as adding new retail locations or concepts.

ER: Our focus for grocery and CPG right now is on retail expansion. We know that we’ve more than proven the brick-and-mortar-to-CPG model, with rapid retail expansion that’s picked up with fervor in 2024. In the year since launch, Magnolia Bakery has expanded its CPG retail footprint to over 2,000 doors, more than 400 of which have been added in the past six months.

Beyond grocery, Magnolia Bakery continues to find ways to push the boundaries of brand collaboration and drive brand awareness. In Q4 2023, we partnered with Incredibles to introduce THC-infused treats, and in Q1 2024, Magnolia Bakery collaborated with Keds to launch a collection of bakeshop-inspired shoes.

Magnolia Bakery is also expanding our wholesale business; our desserts are showing up in new, unexpected locations around the country such as the LaGuardia Airport, DashMarts by DoorDash, Amazon Fresh, FUKU, US Open, F1 Miami, and the Miami Dolphins games. Over the past year, the brand has expanded its wholesale business with more than 100 new storefronts across the East, Midwest, and West coasts.

Related: Magnolia Bakery caters to pie lovers with Just the Crumb snack