Sweet treats are back

Twinkies are back! Yes, the yummy all-American, cream filled, sponge cake has again arrived on the shelves of most grocery stores and outlets in the Mahoning Valley.

When the word of their new arrival was broadcast and published, it seems that all world and local news stopped dead in their tracks. You see, this is the story of the ages. We also know of the demise and bankruptcy of the Hostess parent company.

They say that the reason for Hostess’ demise was extremely bad management, high pension costs, union squabbles and changing consumer preferences.

My friends, sad to say, but this was also the end of HoHos and Ding Dongs. How possibly could we live without them?

But then, on March 12 of this year, an announcement was made that Twinkies again would return. Twinkies, along with their other famous brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos and Co. for $410 million. Twinkies returned to most U.S. shelves by July 15 of this year.

With a little bit of history, Twinkies were invented by James Alexander Dewar in River Forest, Ill., way back in 1930. Dewar was a baker for the Continental Baking Co. He made a snack cake filled with banana cream which he called the Twinkie.

Why did he call it a Twinkie? He claimed that he saw a billboard in St. Louis for Twinkle Toe Shoes.

It seems that during World War II, bananas were rationed, and the company was forced to switch to vanilla cream. This was a popular twist. People seemed to like the vanilla cream better than the banana.

On May 4, 2012, Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Twinkies sales ended on Christmas Day 2011, and Hostess sold 36 million packages in that year, which was down some 2 percent from the previous year. Hostess said customers have gone to healthier foods.

The public, of course, was dismayed that their favorite snack cake would be no more. The sad news was heartbreaking for Twinkie patrons and sweet-tooths who looked far and wide for a replacement to no avail.

But then came the triumphant return, and everyone was abuzz as the news media pushed most headline news out of the picture. Yes, it was the most colossal news story of the century.

Folks, this is the Twinkie that offers no nutritional value at all with 150 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 18 grams of sugar and 20 milligrams of cholesterol. They say, also, that Twinkie cream gets its slippery sheen from cotton cellulose, and, believe it or not, this is used for the same purpose in rocket fuel.

But the Twinkie is so delicious!

Some changes have been made for the new Twinkie. They are smaller than the originals, cutting those calories down from 150 to 135. The new Twinkie also has a weight loss from 42.5 grams to 38.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, up from 26 days of the old Twinkie.

There are probably many ways that the Twinkie was saved with the new owners mainly replacing union employees, and changing their distribution practices. They do not deliver directly to stores any more, but to retail warehouses. This shift alone increased retail stores selling Twinkies from 80,000 to 100,000.

They are also targeting new customers among the younger male population. Their new slogan says it all: “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.” Now, with that slogan alone, we the population, especially in our Valley, should fill our freezers immediately with Twinkies, HoHos and DingDongs.

Did I say the All-American Twinkie? Well, guess what. They are now baked in Montreal, Canada. Oops!

But anyway, Hostess says that demand for Twinkies is at a record high since their return. They also say sales of its products are seven times greater than historic levels and orders are from three to six times greater than their capacity.

The comeback kid, I mean Twinkie, has returned!