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Saturday, November 17, 2012

To heck with Twinkies

We can't believe that these are going away. We haven't had one in decades, but they were so bad, they were perversely good.

Comments (24)

They aren't going away. They'll be in the landfill along with the plastic bags for millennia to come.

Hostess will sell the recipes to somebody else and they'll be out under a different name and label. It won't be the same, but they might still be as perverse.

Maybe Mitt Romney can pick it up for Bain Capitol.

We'll still have a Twinkie in Portland for another 44 days.

Never been a fan of Hostess products. However, if Frito-Lay shuts down, I am going postal.

You can thank the Bakery Workers Union for this disaster. The bright lights in that union "thought" there was another company waiting to take over Hostess if they defaulted. They "thouht" wrong, and now 18,500 employees, many not under contract with their union, are now out of jobs.

For the die-hards, there's still Little Debbie.

Little Debbie stuff looks the same, but taste-wise isn't that close. Swiss Cake Rolls just aren't in the same league with ho-hos. I have to agree with Jack, Sno-Balls are going to be missed. Especially in the different seasonal-appropriate colors.

The Mayor isn't a Twinkie, but he likes them.

Dave: the unions "thought" there was another company waiting to take over Hostess if they defaulted.

The Hostess Brands have great value. Some of the bakeries and/or equipment have value. The existing shelf space and distribution network HAD value, but it was rapidly diminishing with the company's going concern risk.

The myriad union contracts and health/pension liabilities had no value: they represent a dischargeable liability.

The new company that acquires the Hostess Brands and/or some of the physical plant are ONLY interested because the union liabilities are NOT part of the deal.

Management gave them an ultimatum, and the unions mistook it for a negotiating tactic. Big mistake.

"...they'll be out under a different name and label."

Or maybe the same name/label. I expect new owners will buy what has value (the names & brand equity, the legendary half-life...) and jettison what does not have vaule (the union worker mentality, the benefits & overhead).

"It won't be the same, but they might still be as perverse."

Why don't they make them in China like iPads or Nikes, and then ship them to America by container? It's not like an extra 3 months crossing the Pacific will hurt their shelf life.

I expect some Bain Capital type will see the value in this investment, and put their money to good use so that Americans like me who would otherwise die without a Hostess Pie (with 96% of my Daily Saturated Fat needs, more than even a DoveBar) or HoHo or Twinkie, will meet the market demand. At a profit to all.

God bless America (and the Chinese)!

The funeral for Hostess is a bit premature. I have a $.25 bet going with my local gas station attendant that his shelves will have hostess products in 3 months time.

Anyone else want that bet?

JO, I wouldn't be too confident. Hostess will lose its literally top shelf, prime retail space in the interim. I've noticed that for some time 7/11 has been crowding out Hostess with its house brand -- same thing for Safeway. I think it's more likely Southland expands into other stores or other bakers grow their product lines than Hostess makes a strong comeback. In the meantime I feel for the nice ladies who worked for years in the local Hostess outlet, and the route drivers who suddenly find themselves unemployed. The bakers got what they asked for.

Who needs Bain or the Chinese?

DIY Twinkies!!

See the NYT url (maybe a paywall):

And they are legit! See this advice for the most important part of a Twinkie, the trough-shaped mold:

"3. Place one sheet of folded foil on a work surface with a standard-size spice jar on its side in the center of the foil. Bring the long sides of the foil up around the jar, folding the sides and ends as necessary to make a tight trough-shape from which the jar can be removed. Repeat to make 12 foil molds. Spray generously with nonstick spray or coat with vegetable oil. Place the molds on a baking sheet."

Yo Dave A., not sure if you ignored or were unable to discern other substantial factors leading to the demise of Hostess.

Knowing that Bankruptcy was imminent the CEO got a raise from 750K to 2.55 Million. Nine other executives also got massive pay raises.

Remember it was all the unions fault, no blame can be placed on the executive pay hike, poor market research, poorly financing the company. . .

According to, the contract called for an 8 percent wage reduction that was imposed in recent weeks and that with all concessions and give-backs, the union said the cuts amount to 27 percent to 32 percent overall.
The company also stopped making contributions to a pension program in July 2011 and imposed cuts in health benefits, the news site said.
It said the previous bankruptcy reorganization lasted five years during which 21 Hostess plants were shut down and thousands of jobs lost.

Six new CEOs and management teams and 2 bankruptcies in 8-years. A mountain of debt from crony private-equity capital buyouts and hedge fund speculation.

But yes, if you ask the CEO (who got the tripled salary) it was the greedy workers that were the problem.

Interesting article on the lack of a Finance department at Hostess as of last January:

"...The company has asked the bankruptcy court for permission to hire FTI Consulting to do the (Tresury) work. Apparently Hostess does not have much of a finance department either, since FTI is also providing employees for that department.

If approved, FTI will provide three people to staff Hostess’ treasury department. The interim treasurer gets monthly fees that work out to an annual salary of $780,000. His two deputies get $660,000 per year, each.

The finance department group gets paid hourly rates that top out at $895 per hour. You might think that would supplant the need for a financial adviser in the case, but Hostess is asking to retain one of those, too.

And then there is the $1.25 million completion fee that FTI will get at the end of the case."

I already did my weeping over Hostess years ago, when they stopped making Tiger Tails.

The pink Sno Ball with a chomp of out of it...what a great image!

What flavor is the pink in the pink Sno Ball, Jack?

Maybe we need another Reader Poll?

HannityBumper et. al,

Might want to read this:

Those evil CEOs had teamster connections... No sympathy from me for any except the non union workers.

I've noticed that for some time 7/11 has been crowding out Hostess with its house brand -- same thing for Safeway. I think it's more likely Southland expands into other stores

7-Eleven is now a Japanese concern:

The days of the Southland Ice Company are long, long gone...

Oh, and most of your favorite bakery goods (Orowheat) are part of Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican company:

Skeezicks - the colored Sno Balls are the same flavor as the white ones. Just a little food coloring added. Hostess tended to do different colored ones for seasons & holidays. I remember green ones around St. Patricks Day, purple around Easter, orange for Halloween, and I think green and red ones at Christmas. Also have seen blue - probably was random. I also remember seeing a lot of pink ones, not sure if that was seasonal or just for color.

I found a couple out of the way gas stations last night that weren't sold out. Got the last pack of orange Sno Balls along with some white ones, several hostess pies and 4 packages of Ding Dongs. Alas, no Ho-Hos to be found.

Grupo Bimbo will most likely buy the Hostess brand. They bid on them before and now the price is a lot cheaper. All they need is the brand name and the IP. The union members will be out in the cold.

Good news for consumers is that the prices could come down once all the union contracts are torn up. Bad news is that a ton of people are out of work and many of them might never find another job that pays as well.

Killed the golden goose. I've worked at a couple of places where the workers killed the golden goose. It is a painful process to go thru. I'd hate to be one of the unskilled guys who had gotten used to $40 an hour wages and zero cost benefits. Those types of jobs are almost impossible to find anymore outside of the government.

Andy, did you read any of the information available on the executive pay, the private equity shenanigans, debt service or the mismanagement? Or did your reading stop at "workers killed the golden goose"?


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