Yohai, 90, died last week of cancer, Wise confirmed. Yohai, along with a team, helped develop the cheese-powder-covered baked corn puff. After World War II, Yohai took over his father’s snack food business in the Bronx and created the snack, according to Newsday.
The Cheez doodle is an innovation that only comes along every 15 to 20 years, a banker says. “I can only hope that there are still people out there innovating new products which could become as successful in the future.”
Wise Foods, of Berwick, Pa., also sells Wavy Potato Chips, Ridgies, Dipsy Doodles, as well as tortilla chips and pretzels.
“Obviously, we’re very sad to hear about his passing,” says Jolie Weber, a Wise spokeswoman. “He contributed a huge value to a brand that is very popular and famous among consumers on the East Coast of the U.S. ”
Palladium Equity Partners, a New York buyout shop, acquired Wise Foods in 2000 from Borden. The company, at the time, had $336 million in revenue. In May, Palladium put Wise Foods on the block. Piper Jaffray is advising on the sale.
Wise faces tough competition from Frito Lay and it is unclear if anyone has made a bid for the company, the banker says. “They were seeking a large number and no one has wanted to step up given competitive concerns,” the source says.
Palladium could not be reached for comment.