Twinkies might not last this apocalypse
By Mark Ferenchik THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
FRED SQUILLANTE DISPATCH On news of Hostess’ going out of business, people flocked to this Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet in Gahanna to scarf up Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and more.
A Ho Ho-less world? Can that be possible?
Some people worried about that yesterday after Hostess Brands Inc. announced that it is going out of business.
The Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet in Gahanna was among stores nationwide that were packed as customers zipped in to snap up their favorite snacks.
Alison Hunter, 20, of Gahanna, left the store with 17 packages of white Sno Balls. Her plan? Freeze them. “I like my Sno Balls,” she said.
Crystal Stair, 49, of Galion, pushed a shopping cart full of Wonder Bread, orange Glo Balls, Brownie Bites and Twinkies toward her car. Stair, who was on her lunch hour, said she “grew up strong” on Wonder white bread and is a regular at the W. Johnstown Road store.
But the demise of Hostess doesn’t necessarily mean the end of those products.
Other companies might scoop them up, capitalizing on their well-known names, after a bankruptcy judge approves a plan to liquidate Hostess’ assets, including its brands and facilities. “If I were still in business buying consumer companies, I would look strongly at these brands,” said Harold Green, a senior lecturer in the finance department at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
“What I see happening is another bakery picking the brands up and not the plants and employees,” said Green, who was involved in acquisitions when he worked for Borden from 1975 to 1994.
Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court asking permission to close and liquidate its assets. It did so after striking workers wouldn’t agree to the company’s demands for more wage and benefits cuts. About 18,500 workers are losing their jobs.
Hostess employs 28 people in the Columbus area and 867 statewide. It closed its Cincinnati bakery this week. It also has bakeries in Defiance and Northwood near Toledo.
- To consumers, the company’s products , including the Twinkie, are iconic.
“When the big bomb drops, two things will last — cockroaches and Twinkies,” Green said.
In fact, that’s one of the scenes from the 2008 movie WALL-E, depicting a cockroach with a centuries-old Twinkie.
Pop culture is strewn with references to Hostess products. For example, when the living dead roamed the Earth in the 2009 movie Zombieland, Woody Harrelson’s survivor character craved one thing: Twinkies.
Stair found Twinkies yesterday but was disappointed that the store had only one package of Suzy Qs, the devil’s food cake treat with cream filling. The store had been cleaned out of Ho Hos by lunchtime.
“I was so bummed they were already out,” said 16-yearold Janna Kent of Gahanna, who left the store with five full bags of goodies for $25.
- Hostess will keep its retail outlets open for another seven to 10 days to sell its remaining products, company spokesman Erik Halvorson said.
Stair said she hopes some company buys the brands she loves and keeps making them, “as long as they don’t change the recipe,” she said.
Other Hostess dessert brands on the extinction list are CupCakes, Ding Dongs, Donettes, Funny Bones and Yodels; other bread brands are Beefsteak, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Nature’s Pride. firstname.lastname@example.org
ON THE WEB
See video of shoppers stocking up on Hostess items at Dispatch.com/video
Dare I say anything at all on this story without running the risk of offending more than half of the country? While I have never been a fan of this company or the products it makes, I understand that great numbers of us adore these sweets. And that’s the problem.
The sugars, artificial sweeteners, the high fat content, refined flours (grains), flavorings, etc., etc.,altogether comprise what is wrong with this stuff and hooks people into perpetual consumption of that to which they are addicted and from which health is being undermined by creating a nation of diabetic, obese people. And it starts at such an early age. The picture above shows a mother with her three young ones just leaving the outlet.
One could hope that this is signs of the times – - that people are wising up and realizing how unhealthy this addiction is and perhaps Americans are changing their ways. Hey, I’m not without my own addictions which I don’t really think of that way. But I DO enjoy a dark chocolate and out of my mind over cheesecake. I do get how important a little taste of something you crave or love is from time to time. So, I am sorry for those of you who might be feeling terrible about the loss of something which you would rather be keeping around. So, I sympathize – - - now get over it! I’ll look for one of those “Healing Gourmet” letters to share with you – soon. Take care, Jan)