It's been a tough few months if you're a fan of those old childhood favorites Hostess snacks. Most specifically, Twinkies, Cupcakes, Ho-Ho's and Fruit Pies.
It was back in late November of 2012 that Interstate Baking Corp., the parent company of Hostess snacks and Wonder Bread, announced that they were ceasing operations, citing pension and medical benefit obligations for workers and retirees, increased competition and tough economic conditions as reasons for shutting off the ovens and ending all production.
Fans of the snacks descended on grocery stores, Hostess outlet stores and other retailers and quickly snatched up Hostess products. A Hostess Bakery Thrift Store in Des Moines opened its doors at 8:30 the morning Hostess announced they were ceasing operations, and in less than two and a half hours, the shelves of the store were completely bare of product, never to be filled again.
While it had never been tested (Thankfully!) urban legend has it that Twinkies would survive nucluear holocaust, because they would never spoil, due to the ingredients used to create the cream-filled sponge cake treat.
So now, the country has been without Hostess goodies for two months, but the memories of those treats and products has not faded. That's a good thing, because there are developments in the saga of Hostess.
Officials of Hostess Brands have announced that they have picked two investment firms - C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management - as the two lead bidders for the Twinkies and other snack cakes, according to an informed source.
With two bids for Hostess, an auction process could begin, using a base price set by the bidders for suitors to make offers on the rights to manufacture the products. However, as Hostess has filed bankruptcy, a federal judge would have the final approval for any sale.
Hostess has named Flowers Foods as the lead bidder for several of Hostess' bread brands, including the iconic Wonder Bread brand. McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, was picked as the lead bidder for Hostess' Drake's cakes, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels products.
A Wall Street Journal report on the situation last week reported that in its offer to buy the Twinkies and other snack cake products, C. Dean Metropoulos and Apollo have placed bids in excess of $400 million. Man, that's a nice little chunk of change, wouldn't you agree?
Just in case C. Dean Metropoulos doesn't ring any bells with you the firm owns Pabst Brewing Company. Now there's a combination, ice cold suds and Twinkies..Hmmm, have to think about that for a moment or two.
Since November, through the bankruptcy proceedings, Hostess has repeatedly said that it needed to move quickly to sell its snack food products; otherwise, Hostess claimed, they were afraid that consumers would soon forget the snacks. Citing the old adage, "out of sight, out of mind," Hostess says the longer that Twinkies, Ho-Hos and Wonder Bread are off shelves in supermarkets and convenience stores, the more people will become accustomed to eating cakes and breads baked by other companies.
Hostess officials are hoping that consumers will still crave the creamy filling and golden sponge cake of the Twinkies to provide a market for a new owner.
Now, I ask you our government used tax money to bail out Chrysler and General Motors a couple of years back, "for the good of the country." Now, the nation cries out for the return of the Twinkie.
Perhaps a letter-writing campaign to Congress might be appropriate it would give our lawmakers in Washington something else to deadlock over.
But perhaps keeping governoment out of it might not be a bad idea. Over this past weekend, I heard a radio report that C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. was indeed the successful bidder for the Hostess goodies. We'll have to see.
Until then, long live Twinkie the Kid!