No More Twinkies?

The maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread is going out of business

Nov 19, 2012 | By Cameron Keady
MARK LENNIHAN—AP

Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos – oh my! These are just a few of the sugary treats made by the beloved Hostess brand. But after more than 80 years, America must bid a fond farewell to these iconic desserts. Early last week, Hostess announced it is going out of business.

“Many people have worked incredibly long and hard to keep this from happening,” said Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn. “Hostess Brands has no other alternative than to begin the process of winding down and preparing for the sale of our iconic brands.”

Along with Twinkies and Wonder Bread, cupcakes and other sugary treats may disappear from the shelves.
JOE RAEDLE—GETTY IMAGES
Along with Twinkies and Wonder Bread, cupcakes and other sugary treats may disappear from the shelves.

The Wonder Years

Hostess was founded in 1930 as the Interstate Bakeries Corporation. As the company grew, it bought the manufacturer of Wonder Bread, one of its biggest products. Wonder Bread was a household name in the 1950s and 1960s. Over the years, the soft white slices became as American as apple pie.

In the past decade, however, Hostess has experienced difficulties with its management and high labor costs. The company had money troubles in the past, but this time there was no way to recover. Along with the loss of sugary treats comes the loss of nearly 20,000 jobs.

The End of Bread?

The downfall of Hostess is due not just to the company’s financial woes, but also to a changing America.  Our country’s tastes and lifestyles are not the same as they were eighty years ago. Americans have become more health-conscious, and they are demanding more healthful food products. As a manufacturer of high-calorie products, Hostess does not fit into this new way of life.

To make matters worse for Hostess, Americans do not eat as much bread as they once did.  “More and more we’re opting for one-dish meals,” said Harry Balzar, a food industry analyst. “The tradition of bread as a side dish is diminishing.”

Americans are finding alternatives to their morning toast too. Instead they’re choosing quick snacks like yogurt and energy bars.

Will Twinkies become an image of a bygone America? Hostess fans are hopeful another company will buy out the maker of this spongy snack and secure its spot on supermarket shelves for years to come. We can only wait. And maybe eat fruit for dessert instead.