Saturday, November 17, 2012

RIP Hostess Cupcakes & Wonder Bread

Image from source, Think Progress.
By now, you've heard the sad, sad news. Hostess, maker of Twinkies, HoHos, Sno-Balls, Suzy-Qs, Wonder Bread, Zingers, Dunkin' Stix, Cup Cakes, Ding Dongs, Fruit Pies and other tasty-but-bad-for-you treats, has passed away. As a child of the 70s, this is very sad new indeed, even if I've rarely purchased a Hostess product this century.

When I was a kid, Hostess and Dolly Madison marketed heavily to kids, in an era of much more limited media. We had three commercial channels on TV (especially Saturday mornings), we had the funny pages in the newspaper, comic books and that was about it. We got introduced to Twinkie the Kid and King Ding Dong along with all of the Kellogg's, Post and General Mills cereal characters. Since they were all animated characters, they blurred with our kids' programming. In the comics, they even had adventures with Superman and Batman! So, the Hostess company was really intertwined with 70s pop culture.

Image from New York Post.
My step-dad had a part time job at Kroger, and was able to liberate many products past their sell-by dates, and bring them home to us. That meant lots of fruits and veggies that needed the bad spots cut away. But it also meant a freezer full of wondrous things, and that included the Kroger version of Twinkies, Cup Cakes, HoHos and more. Nobody knew the difference when I pulled them out of my lunchbox, but I knew. By the time I got a paper route at 12 or 13, I was using my earnings to get the real thing: Hostess brands! There was also my Wise Cheez Waffies/Andy Capp's Hot Fries addictions, and my insatiable DC Comics lust, which was my eventual downfall as a paperboy, but that's beside the point. The point is, Hostess was as much a part of my childhood as The Super-Friends, The Six-Million Dollar Man, 45 records, Farrah Fawcett, ABBA and disco.

Image from MarsWillSendMore.
(Click to embiggen)
Much of the news has centered on a strike by union workers that effectively "killed" the company. But that doesn't tell the whole story. There were huge management salaries, and basic mismanagement for many years. Multiple bankruptcies. The company seemed close to death a couple of times before. So before you go finger-wagging at the unions, get the whole story. And be consoled by the fact that Hostess--as a whole, or in parts--will be revived by others.

You can pretty much guarantee that most if not all of their main snack cakes lines will be marketed by another company. Subsidiaries and offshoots may never come back, but who knows?  If you go to the Wikipedia pages for Kellogg's, Campbell's, Kraft Foods, Nestle, Hershey and others, you will find long lists of products you didn't realize were under one roof. You'll find brands that were bought and sold back and forth, consolidations, divestitures, spin-offs. Beatrice Foods at one time owned a bunch of popular brands, and they went under. Most of the product lines survived, still today produced by others. Kraft owns Nabisco, but it wasn't always that way. So, if the Hostess liquidation makes you sad, chin up. They'll be back. And, oh, it just hit me! Liquidation? Could that be the new variation of Twinkies, after fried? Liquid Twinkies! mmmmmmmmmmmmm


Hostess Blames Union For Bankruptcy After Tripling CEO’s Pay

Today, Hostess Brands inc. — the company famed for its sickly sweet desert snacks like Twinkies and Sno Balls — announced they’d be shuttering after more than eighty years of production. . .

Read more at: Think Progress


  1. Liquid Twinkie sounds like it could be a layered shot made with Pinnacle's cake-flavored vodka and Bailey's.

  2. I was thinking "Twinkie smoothie" and you made it better!

  3. Is this part of the homogay agenda? I heard you fellas liked Twinkies.

  4. Not THIS homogay! Twinks are too flighty. HoHos aren't so good either. And you can keep your Suzy-Qs. Now, Sno-Balls. . .


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