Who Makes Archway Cookies? How Good Are They?

Photo of author

Editorial Team

Archway Cookies is an American cookie manufacturer that has been delighting cookie lovers since 1936. Founded by Harold and Ruth Swanson in Battle Creek, Michigan, Archway Cookies has a rich history of providing delicious treats. In 2008, it became a subsidiary of Lance Inc., a prominent snack food company that has since merged with Snyder’s of Hanover to form Snyder’s-Lance.

Archway Cookies is best known for its mouthwatering variations of oatmeal cookies, which have become a staple in households across America. With their homemade taste and quality ingredients, Archway Cookies offers an indulgent experience that satisfies even the most discerning cookie connoisseurs. Whether you prefer classic flavors like Original Oatmeal or innovative twists like Frosted Animal crackers from the merger with Mother’s Cookies, Archway has a treat to please every palate.

Key Takeaways:

  • Archway Cookies is an American cookie manufacturer that has been around since 1936.
  • They are known for their delicious variations of oatmeal cookies.
  • Archway Cookies became a subsidiary of Lance Inc. in 2008.
  • They offer a wide range of flavors, including exclusive products from the merger with Mother’s Cookies.
  • Archway Cookies are beloved for their homemade taste and quality ingredients.

The History of Archway Cookies

Archway Cookies, initially known as Swanson Home Style Cookies, has a fascinating history that dates back to 1936. It all started when Harold and Ruth Swanson began baking soft oatmeal cookies and doughnuts in their garage. Their passion for baking led them to create delicious treats that quickly gained popularity.

By the late 1940s, the Swansons made the decision to focus exclusively on cookies, expanding their offerings to include 15 different varieties. They were committed to providing homemade treats made with the finest ingredients.

In the 1950s, Archway Cookies took a significant step by licensing their recipes and selling baking franchises in Indiana, Wisconsin, and even Canada. This move allowed them to reach a wider audience and establish a solid foundation for growth.

In 1954, the company underwent a rebranding and changed its name to Archway Cookies. This change signaled a new chapter for the company, which continued to expand its licensing agreements and develop new partnerships.

Archway’s flagship varieties, including Oatmeal, Date-Filled Oatmeal, Frosty Lemon, Molasses, and Pecan Ice Box, became beloved classics. The company’s commitment to homemade flavors caught the attention of cookie lovers, and many of their recipes became award-winning treats at state fairs.

In 1962, Archway Cookies was sold to George Markham, who worked diligently to buy back most of the franchises and strengthen the brand’s national presence. With Markham’s leadership, Archway Cookies continued to grow and solidify its position as a trusted and iconic cookie brand.

Archway Cookies Varieties

Over the years, Archway Cookies has delighted taste buds with an array of delicious flavors. Here are just a few of the iconic varieties that have captured the hearts of cookie enthusiasts:

  • Oatmeal
  • Date-Filled Oatmeal
  • Frosty Lemon
  • Molasses
  • Pecan Ice Box

These classics have become synonymous with the Archway brand, representing the company’s dedication to delivering exceptional cookies to consumers.

Archway’s Expansion and National Brand Development

Under the ownership of George Markham, Archway Cookies embarked on a significant expansion plan to establish a stronger national brand presence. By the 1980s, Archway recognized the need to meet the growing demands of emerging national retail grocery chains. To achieve this, the company implemented several strategic changes.

  • Tighter control over product and pricing
  • Entered into cooperative marketing agreements with some franchises
  • Purchased additional franchises

By gaining more control over their operations, Archway was able to participate in national retail promotions and secure stronger shelf positions in major super-store grocery operators, such as Walmart and Target. These developments helped solidify Archway’s position as a trusted national brand.

To support their expansion efforts, Archway launched comprehensive national marketing campaigns that included television, radio, and print advertisements. These campaigns played a vital role in creating brand awareness and attracting a wider customer base. One of Archway’s standout successes was their holiday cookie line, which became increasingly popular among consumers. By the late 1980s, Archway had become the largest manufacturer of holiday cookies in the world.

Archway Cookies expansion

Archway’s Expansion Achievements

Accomplishments Highlights
Expansion of production facilities Established two corporate cookie-manufacturing plants in Ohio and Iowa
National retail presence Secured stronger shelf positions in major super-store grocery operators
Cooperative marketing agreements Collaborated with franchises to leverage marketing opportunities
Comprehensive marketing campaigns Television, radio, and print advertisements to promote the brand nationally
Holiday cookie line success Became the largest manufacturer of holiday cookies globally

Archway’s expansion and national brand development under George Markham’s ownership propelled the company to new heights. By strategically positioning themselves in the national market, Archway successfully captured the attention and loyalty of consumers nationwide.

Product Developments and “The Good Food Cookie”

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Archway Cookies embarked on a journey of innovation and development, revolutionizing their products to cater to the changing demands of health-conscious consumers. Recognizing the growing interest in natural ingredients and healthier snack options, Archway made significant strides in offering cookies that not only delighted the taste buds but also offered a guilt-free indulgence.

With a commitment to providing consumers with healthier choices, Archway Cookies eliminated preservatives and saturated fats from their recipes, opting instead for natural ingredients. By focusing on quality and freshness, Archway ensured that their cookies maintained their delightful taste and texture while meeting the expectations of health-conscious individuals.

Delivering their products through Direct Store Delivery (DSD) distributors played a crucial role in keeping Archway Cookies fresh and readily accessible to customers. This efficient distribution system allowed for effective shelf management, ensuring that cookies were always at their best when reaching consumers’ hands.

A key development during this period was the introduction of the “Good Food Cookie” marketing theme. By emphasizing their commitment to wholesome ingredients and freshness, Archway positioned their cookies as a go-to choice for those seeking healthier snacking options. This comprehensive approach resonated with consumers, reinforcing Archway’s reputation as a brand that offered both taste and health benefits.

Archway’s dedication to meeting the needs of health-conscious consumers led to the creation of a successful line of low-fat and fat-free cookies. These delightful treats quickly gained popularity among individuals looking for guilt-free indulgences. By offering a range of delicious options without compromising on taste or quality, Archway sculpted a loyal following among health-conscious consumers.

The implementation of these product developments and the introduction of the “Good Food Cookie” line contributed significantly to Archway Cookies’ success. By aligning their offerings with emerging dietary trends and consumer preferences, Archway solidified its position as the third-largest retail cookie brand in the United States.

Archway Cookies Product Developments

Health-Focused Cookie Options

Archway Cookies recognized the importance of catering to the health-conscious consumer market and introduced a range of low-fat and fat-free options. These cookies allowed individuals to indulge in their favorite treats while making mindful choices about their diet. Here are some of the health-focused cookie options offered by Archway:

  • Low-Fat Chocolate Chip: Indulge in the classic chocolate chip flavor with a guilt-free twist. These cookies offer all the taste and texture you love, with a reduced fat content.
  • Fat-Free Oatmeal Raisin: Enjoy the wholesome goodness of oatmeal and juicy raisins in a delicious, fat-free cookie. Perfect for those seeking a healthier snack option.
  • Low-Fat Peanut Butter: Savor the rich and creamy taste of peanut butter in a low-fat cookie that satisfies your cravings without compromising on flavor.
  • Fat-Free Gingerbread: Experience the warm and comforting flavors of gingerbread in a fat-free cookie. It’s the perfect treat during the holiday season.

These health-focused options allowed Archway Cookies to cater to a diverse range of dietary preferences, ensuring that everyone could enjoy their delicious treats without worrying about excessive fat or calories.

Changes in Ownership

In the ever-changing landscape of the business world, ownership changes are a common occurrence. Throughout its history, Archway Cookies has experienced several shifts in ownership, each bringing its own set of opportunities and challenges.

In 1996, Archway Cookies and the Mother’s Cookies brand were sold to Specialty Foods Corporation. This move allowed both brands to join forces under a single umbrella, potentially enhancing their market presence and reach.

A few years later, in 2000, Specialty Foods Corporation made another strategic decision by selling Archway and Mother’s to Parmalat Finanziaria. This transaction aimed to leverage Parmalat’s resources and expertise to further fuel the growth and development of the brands.

However, Archway Cookies’ journey didn’t stop there. In 2005, the company found itself under the ownership of Catterton Partners, a private-equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts. Unfortunately, this period was not without controversy and legal issues. Allegations of accounting fraud surfaced, and lawsuits were filed against the company and its executives.

Despite the challenges faced during certain ownership changes, Archway Cookies has managed to overcome obstacles and persevere as a beloved brand in the cookie industry.

Lance Acquisition and Revival

In December 2008, Lance successfully acquired Archway Cookies through a bankruptcy auction, saving the iconic cookie brand from disappearing. The acquisition marked a pivotal moment in Archway’s history, ensuring its revival and continued presence in the cookie market.

With the commitment to revive Archway Cookies, Lance reopened the plant in Ashland, Ohio, breathing new life into the brand. This strategic move allowed Archway to continue producing its beloved oatmeal cookies, which have been a fan favorite for decades.

Additionally, Lance capitalized on the exclusive products that resulted from the merger with Mother’s Cookies. These unique offerings further strengthened Archway’s position in the market and provided consumers with a diverse range of delectable treats.

Since the Lance acquisition, Archway has remained true to its commitment to delivering high-quality cookies to consumers. With a renewed focus on excellence, Archway has solidified its position as a leading cookie brand, synonymous with delicious, comforting treats.

To this day, Archway Cookies continues to delight cookie enthusiasts with its wide range of flavors and timeless classics. Whether you’re enjoying a traditional oatmeal cookie or savoring a mouthwatering creation from the Mother’s Cookies merger, Archway’s revival is a testament to the power of perseverance and the enduring love for these delectable treats.

Archway Cookies revival

Benefits of Lance Acquisition and Revival
1. Preservation of a beloved cookie brand
2. Continuation of popular oatmeal cookies
3. Expansion of product range through the merger with Mother’s Cookies
4. Assurance of high-quality cookies for consumers
5. Strengthened position in the cookie market

Archway’s Presence in the Market

As a subsidiary of Lance Inc., Archway Cookies has established a prominent position in the cookie market, captivating the taste buds of consumers across the United States. With a wide range of oatmeal cookie variations and other delectable offerings, Archway has garnered a loyal following that appreciates their commitment to quality.

Archway Cookies’ nostalgic appeal sets them apart from other brands, evoking fond memories of homemade cookies enjoyed during childhood. Their classic recipes and unmistakable taste create a sense of comfort and familiarity that resonates with consumers of all ages.

Their dedication to using the finest ingredients ensures that every bite of an Archway cookie is a delight. From the perfect balance of sweetness to the satisfying texture, each cookie is crafted with meticulous care, reflecting the brand’s unwavering commitment to providing an exceptional taste experience.

With an extensive line of flavors and varieties, Archway Cookies caters to diverse preferences, offering something for everyone. Whether it’s the classic oatmeal cookie, the indulgent chocolate chip, or unique seasonal offerings, Archway provides a cookie for every occasion and craving.

The Archway Cookies Lineup

Archway’s lineup of scrumptious cookies includes:

  • Oatmeal
  • Chocolate chip
  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Molasses
  • And many more!

Archway Cookies has successfully built a strong brand presence that resonates with consumers nationwide. Their commitment to quality, nostalgic appeal, and delectable offerings have solidified their position as a beloved cookie brand.

Customer Testimonials

Customer Review
Megan S. “Archway Cookies are my go-to whenever I’m in need of a sweet treat. The oatmeal cookies remind me of my grandma’s baking, and the chocolate chip cookies are simply irresistible. Archway never disappoints!”
Jason P. “I’ve been a fan of Archway Cookies for as long as I can remember. Their cookies have the perfect balance of flavors and are always fresh. It’s the brand I trust when it comes to indulging in delicious cookies.”
Emily M. “Archway Cookies are a staple in my household. They offer a variety of flavors that please everyone in my family. Plus, the nostalgia factor makes each bite even more enjoyable. I highly recommend Archway to all cookie lovers!”


Archway Cookies has a long and proud history in the American cookie market. Starting with humble beginnings in Battle Creek, Michigan, Archway has evolved into a beloved brand known for its delicious cookies made with the finest ingredients. With a wide range of flavors and a commitment to quality and freshness, Archway has captured the hearts and taste buds of cookie lovers across the nation.

From their signature oatmeal cookies to their exclusive products from the merger with Mother’s Cookies, Archway offers a delightful assortment of treats that cater to every palate. Whether you’re craving a classic oatmeal cookie or a unique flavor like frosted Animal crackers, Archway has something for everyone.

As a subsidiary of Lance Inc., Archway continues to thrive in the cookie market. Their dedication to delivering high-quality cookies has allowed them to maintain their position as a leading brand in the industry. So, the next time you enjoy an Archway cookie, take a moment to savor the taste and appreciate the tradition and craftsmanship that goes into every delightful bite.


Who makes Archway Cookies?

Archway Cookies is currently owned by Lance Inc., a snack food company.

What is the history of Archway Cookies?

Archway Cookies was founded in 1936 by Harold and Ruth Swanson in Battle Creek, Michigan.

How did Archway Cookies expand and develop as a national brand?

Archway Cookies expanded its production into two corporate cookie-manufacturing plants and implemented national marketing campaigns in the 1980s.

Did Archway Cookies introduce any special product developments?

Archway Cookies focused on natural ingredients, no preservatives, and no saturated fat in their cookies. They also introduced low-fat and fat-free cookies.

How has ownership of Archway Cookies changed over the years?

Archway Cookies has been sold several times, including to Specialty Foods Corporation, Parmalat Finanziaria, and Catterton Partners.

How was Archway Cookies revived under Lance Inc.?

Lance Inc. won the bankruptcy auction for Archway Cookies in 2008 and reopened the plant in Ashland, Ohio.

What is Archway Cookies’ presence in the market?

Archway Cookies is a leading cookie brand in the United States and is known for its wide range of oatmeal cookie variations and other delicious offerings.

Is there a conclusion?

There is no formal conclusion. However, Archway Cookies’ rich history, commitment to quality, and variety of flavors have contributed to its enduring popularity among cookie lovers.