No more Twinkies, Devil Dogs or Ding Dongs? Update

Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, said on Friday it’s going out of business and selling its lines of iconic snack cakes and bread brands.

Hostess plans to lay off 18,500 workers after the company’s Baker’s union went on strike to protest a labor contract.

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Update: A judge declined to approve the company’s liquidation on Monday and asked management and the baker’s union to go into mediation Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News.
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“We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets,” the company said on its website Friday.

Hostess Brands -- in bankruptcy since January -- had sought to slash employee wages and benefits so that the company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. While the Teamsters Union worked out a deal, the Bakers Union balked.

While labor problems no doubt accelerated the company’s demise, Hostess has been struggling for years, and many see their products as out of date in a country plagued by obesity and diabetes.

“Hostess seems to define everything that's unhealthy in America right now. Bad financial choices, bad food, bad management,” writes Amy Casil in Policymic. Besides labor expenses, Casil cites high costs for staple ingredients and poor market share as part of the company’s problems. New, healthier baked products like whole grain breads have cut into Hostess product sales.
 
Stores are reporting a run on the snack-food cake products. Workers at the Hostess outlet store in Jamaica told the New York Daily News that lines were long, with fans coming in to stock up before supplies run out.

But not everyone has kind words for the snack cakes. “Twinkies are disgusting,” Veronica, a worker in the restaurant business in DUMBO told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “I feel bad for the people who are going to lose their jobs but honestly, those things can withstand a nuclear war.”

She did admit to owning a pair of Twinkies pajama pants, however. “I got them at Modell’s. They’re the most comfortable pajama pants I own.”

Her fellow restaurant worker Chris said, “Twinkies won’t disappear. Someone will buy the brand.”

The book Twinkie, Deconstructed, by Steve Ettlinger reveals some of the ingredients of the product, including a coloring manufactured from natural gas. Many of the Twinkie’s ingredients are “more closely linked to rocks and petroleum than any of the four food groups,” he writes.

Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants, Hostess said. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products.