Archway Cookies is an American cookie manufacturer, founded in 1936 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Since December 2008, it has been a subsidiary of Lance Inc., a snack-food company, who in turn merged with Snyder's of Hanover to form Snyder's-Lance. Archway is best known for its variations of oatmeal cookies.
In 1936, Harold and Ruth Swanson began baking soft oatmeal cookies and doughnuts out of their home's garage in Battle Creek. By the late 1940s, they had discontinued baking donuts and just concentrated on cookies. They had fifteen different varieties of cookies by 1949. In the 1950s they licensed their cookie recipes and begin selling baking franchises in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Canada.
In 1954, Swanson, a maker of frozen dinners, sued Swanson cookies for name infringement. As part of a settlement, the Swansons agreed to change the name of their bakery company to Archway Cookies. The name 'Archway' was chosen by Harold and Ruth because the original Swanson cookie labels featured an arch above the name ... and the same arch design was retained on the first generation Archway cookie label designs.
Throughout the 1950s, Archway continued to grow and sell more franchises. At the height of its franchise expansion, Archway Cookies were being manufactured nationally by thirty-three separate bakeries, whose territories were generally drawn along state boundaries.
Archway's flagship varieties were Oatmeal, Date-Filled Oatmeal, Frosty Lemon, Molasses and Pecan Ice Box, with Oatmeal varieties accounting for thirty percent of product sales. The company emphasized its home-made and freshness approach to baking cookies, and often used the term 'Archway Homestyle Cookies'. Most varieties were packaged in two stacks of six large cookies, and wrapped in clear cellophane with a freshness code printed on the front label. Many varieties, such as Ruth's Golden Oatmeal, were 'state fair winning' recipes, selected from among entries of company-sponsored baking competitions. Archway's product line quickly expanded to several dozen varieties, including many classic and unique selections; Peanut Jumble, Rocky Road, Mississippi Mud Cake, Fudge Nut Bar, German Chocolate, Black Walnut Ice Box, Date Nut Bar, Iced Spice, New Orleans Cake, Pineapple Filled, Sour Cream, Soft Sugar, and Cookie Jar Hermit.