No More Twinkies: Hostess Files for Bankruptcy

4 years ago

This bakery is closed!

Those packaged treats -- Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Sno Balls, and of course, the iconic Twinkie -- used to be in every kid's lunchbox, but no more. Their maker, Hostess Brands, is shutting its doors for good.

Image Credit: sekimura, via Flickr

Hostess products have been American icons since the 1930s, so what happened?

The company has been in a bitter labor dispute, which stalled out in September. On Monday, November 12, the company permanently closed three bakeries as a result of a nationwide labor strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM). Then, yesterday evening, the company announced it was liquidating all its assets because not enough employees had returned to work.

According to a Hostess Brands press release:

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

It’s hard to imagine that those colorful packages could permanently disappear from store shelves. The Hostess Brands website says it will continue to ship and sell the baked goods that are already in the pipeline, and the Hostess website says it plans to sell its popular brands, including Hostess, Dolly Madison, Drake's Cakes, and Wonder Bread.

Then again, I have to wonder if their financial troubles don’t also have to do with the fact that Americans don’t eat like they used to. Remember the Twinkie Defense in the 1980s, when the man who shot and killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk blamed his state of mind on the sugary baked good? Many health conscious moms associate Twinkies (and their cousins) with refined sugars, partially hydrogenated fats and preservatives -– not exactly things they want to feed their kids. My oldest son got his first, and only, taste of Twinkies when a classmate brought them to kindergarten for the class snack. And his verdict? Thumbs down.

Did you eat Twinkies or the like as a kid? Share your memories and tell us what you think about the Hostess closure.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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