Hostess Brands is liquidating its business after 82 years, which means some of the most iconic brands of the century may be up for auction. Will Twinkies become a foreign import?
Who knew there were so many Twinkie diehards?
The announcement that Hostess Brands would shutter and liquidate its 33 bakeries – including its Twinkie-making plant in Illinois – sparked a fevered Boomer nostalgia ironically belied by the fact that it’s been years since most people have bit into that impossibly long-lasting and sticky-sweet miracle of artificial confectionery. (Today, about 12 percent of US households buy Twinkies, down from 15 percent in 2004.)
But news that Twinkie bars are now selling at gold bar prices on eBay hints at opportunity: In fact, global firms are already lining up to bid on the iconic brand names – Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s, Wonder Bread, Drake’s – in order to prepare many, if not all, for reissue.
The brands “most likely will be purchased by a competitor that will bolt the additional sales to a more efficient delivery system,” David Pauker, a food industry restructuring specialist, tells Reuters. “The company itself won't survive.”
Food producers ConAgra and Flowers Food, the American company behind Nature Valley granola, have expressed interest and so has Little Debbie baker McKee Foods. But another possible bidder hints at the future of Twinkies and maybe the US bakery business as a whole: Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest bread baking firm, which already owns parts of Sara Lee, Entenmann’s and Thomas English Muffins.