Hostess: the mostess, for a few

For me, the issue of the Hostess Brands snack food line apparently going under – I can’t believe that someone won’t buy this venerable line – isn’t the loss of Ding Dongs. It’s that, apparently, the company had “manipulated” its executives’ pay–sending its former chief executive’s salary, in particular, skyrocketing- in the months leading up to its Chapter 11 filing, in an effort to dodge the Bankruptcy Code’s compensation requirements.

Yet the stories I hear on the nightly news talk about failure of the company to come to an agreement with the unions. Implicit in that is if it weren’t for the greedy unions, we’d still have our Twinkies. Maybe, just maybe, it was the unions who were offered a bad deal, and are now getting a bad rap.

I have a peculiar history with Hostess. During the Vietnam war, the product line was owned by ITT, and ITT built stuff that helped the war machine. So I boycotted Hostess from about 1970 until the war was over in 1975. Truth is, I never much liked Wonder Bread all that much, and after I started eating whole grain breads, Wonder Bread was inedible. I liked Twinkies, though. Finally, after a half dozen years, I tried a Twinkie again; I thought it was AWFUL, pure sugar. Had my taste buds changed, or did my previous political antipathy make it taste bad? But I still liked the fruit pies when I tried them again, though I preferred the ones by Drake, which had a fun commercial to boot.

Mark Evanier made some interesting points. “They came out with ‘100 calorie’ packs of their Twinkies and cupcakes… but the experiment caused me to swear off their products for good. The size of a Twinkie that got the calories down to that acceptable number was so small as to be unsatisfying and it made me more acutely aware of how many were in the full-sized version.” Other brands did the same thing, and I had the same reaction. As for Wonder Bread, “by the time they did offer a ‘whole grain white,’ it felt insincere on their part.” Absolutely!

I’m not planning on buying up some Hostess products. Despite the cliche, they WON’T last forever like styrofoam.

0 thoughts on “Hostess: the mostess, for a few”

  1. Actually in reading the history of the product the original recipe might have been very good. That is before the bean counters got to it. I understand the original filling was a banana cream. Sadly real ingredients were soon to be replaced with cheap chemicals.

    Parrots must be a 20 something if he/she doesn’t know Twinkies. These were “the” thing of the late 50s and early 60s. And yes our tastes do change as we get older. I defy you to try and eat a piece of pecan pie at our age now, something I used to love.


  2. There’s enough blame to go around with this one. Probably, the biggest culprit is decreasing demand. Hostess has been struggling to make a profit for years. Even if no one rescues it, I’m sure there will be some sort of comparably, sickening sweet snack to take its place.


  3. Fat Cats getting fatter from the fattening of other Americans. The whole deal REEKS of corporate Mitt-style ripoffs. I never liked that stuff in the first place, but I do feel for the workers who will be laid off. The CEOs and Board should be put in stocks in front of corporate headquarters so we can fling Ho Hos as them. (I do a good Ann Blyth imitation… oops, dating myself there!!) Peace, Amy


    1. Amy- painfully< I'm old enough to remember the Ann Blyth commercials. Well, maybe the arbitrator will work out something today.


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