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Twinkies Alert: Hostess Brands to File for Bankruptcy—Again

One of the largest wholesale bakers and distributors of fresh delivered bread and snack cakes in the United States could be history. Will your favorites disappear from store shelves?

My childhood just passed before my eyes.

The Associated Press and other media outlets such as the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Hostess Brands, makers of such yummy baked-goods as Twinkies is prepping to refile bankruptcy protection two years after it crawled out of trouble.

On Monday, a spokesman for the privately held Irving, Texas, bakery company declined to comment on the report, the AP said. The report further states, "The Wall Street Journal said people familiar with the matter said the company is facing a cash crunch with more than $860 million in debt, high labor expenses and rising ingredient costs."

Once called Interstate Bakeries and based in Kansas City, it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004, citing poor sales and "high fixed costs."

It emerged in February 2009.

There are around 19,000 workers with 36 regional bakeries (two in L.A., one in Sacramento and one in Oakland), and its annual sales are about $2 billion, according to the company's website.

Hostess also produces Wonder Bread, which has been around for 90 years and at one time, had a plant in my native Michigan. My parents have told me stories about how while passing the plant they could smell the aroma of fresh-baked bread.

Although I haven't eaten golden Twinkies in years or any of the company's other iconic brands such as Ding Dings, Ho Ho's, or spongy pink Sno Balls, I am saddened.

I spent many a lunch hour in various school cafeterias swapping and bribing my classmates for their Twinkies or Suzy Q's.

As time has marched on, Twinkies have become much more than a packaged snack cake. On the East Coast, they are often deep-fried and served with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate. Here in California, where we tend to watch our waistlines, finding such a rich treat is pretty difficult.

It seems to me that many of the 'oldies but goodies'—like Twinkies—disappear before our very eyes sooner rather than later.

Sure, they are filled with sugar, and packed with umpteen calories, but they are part of America ... kind of like apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet. Right?

Here are some fun facts about Twinkies, thanks to the Hostess website.

Twinkies By the Numbers:

  • 500 million: The number of Twinkies baked each year.
  • 10: The minutes it takes to bake a Twinkie.
  • 1930: The year James Dewar invented the two-for-a-nickel treat.
  • 150: The number of calories in one Twinkie.
  • 50: The number of recipes in the Twinkies Cookbook.
  • 7: The number of Twinkies needed to make the “Patriotic Twinkie Pie” recipe in the Twinkies Cookbook.
  • 1: The rank of New Orleans in terms of per capita Twinkie consumption compared to other cities in the U.S.
  • 1999: The year President Bill Clinton included Twinkies in the millennium time capsule.
  • 26 days: The shelf life of a Twinkie.

Locally, you can pick up a pack of cellophane-wrapped Twinkies at , , and

At least for now.

Will you miss Twinkies? Tell us in comments below.

Blake Driver January 11, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Hostess has been a part of every American childhood. I grew up on eating PP&Js on wonderbread and spilting packs of twinkies with my friends. Very sad
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) January 11, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Blake: It will be a very sad day indeed when moms won't be able to pack their kids lunch boxes at least once in a while with Twinkies. I'm glad you experienced them.
Said Belemlih January 11, 2012 at 06:56 AM
And 37 the number of ingredients that make up a Twinkie!
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) January 11, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Said: 37! Good to know .. sugar, sugar, sugar and ....
Ferdinand January 11, 2012 at 07:27 AM
I like Hostess snacks because I use them as ingredients for larger desserts. 1) In a small bowl I microwave for 15 seconds a ding dong then top it off with ice cream (usually vanilla) and fudge or caramel topping. 2) I place Twinkies in a George Foreman Grill to flash heat then place on a plate added with a fruit compote (hot or cold) If you improvise you can make a lot of delicious deserts or snacks.
Rosie Garcia January 11, 2012 at 09:13 PM
My son and I like the little white Hostess donuts! Haven't had a Twinkie in many, many years, but would hate to see them go.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) January 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Ferdinand: Nice usage of an American classic, let's hope they continue to be available and not slide into the history books.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) January 11, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Rosie: I haven't had one in years, but all of a sudden I have a craving for one!

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