Twinkies will reportedly be making a comeback to supermarket shelves around July 15 after a bankruptcy filing and an acrimonious fight with its unionized workers last year left the company’s original owners with no choice but to close its operations.
Hostess is now expected next month to deliver its Twinkies, along with other sugary treats, such as CupCakes and Donettes. According to the new Hostess, the cakes will taste the same but the boxes will now bear the tag line "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever."
Twinkies and other Hostess snacks disappeared from supermarkets around the country in November 2012 after the company filed for bankruptcy twice and failed to reach an agreement with the Teamsters Union that would allow Hostess Brands to cut employee pay and benefits, if the company maintained funding of existing pension plans. About 15,000 unionized workers lost their jobs in the aftermath.
Hostess proceeded to sell of its brands in chunks to different buyers. Its major bread brands including Wonder were sold to Flowers Foods, which makes Tastykakes. McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, snapped up Drake's Cake, which includes Devil Dogs and Yodels. Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo bought Twinkies and other Hostess cakes for $410 million.
The restructuring of the Hostess brand will reportedly enable the company to reach a greater amount of customer’s as the snacks will now deliver to warehouses that supply retailers, rather than delivering directly to stores. The move will greatly expand its reach, letting it deliver to dollar stores and nearly all convenience stores in the U.S. Previously, Hostess was only able to reach about one-third of the country's 150,000 convenience stores.
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Production was also consolidated, from 11 bakery plants to four — one each in Georgia, Kansas, Illinois and Indiana. The headquarters was moved from Texas to Kansas City, Mo., where Hostess was previously based and still had some accounting offices.
In related news, Rich Seban, the president of Hostess who previously served as chief operating officer, told the Associated Press that in the months since they vanished from shelves, Hostess CupCakes have undergone some changes. The company is now reportedly using dark cocoa instead of milk chocolate to give them a richer, darker appearance. Seban suggested that the changes were to improve the cakes, not to cut costs. Prices for the cakes will remain the same; a box of 10 Twinkies will cost $3.99. He also said there are many trendy healthy options the company is looking into, such as gluten-free, added fiber, low sugar and low sodium.