We Americans have a soft spot for nostalgia, especially when it comes to our brands. Hostess Twinkies are probably the perfect illustration of our love and dedication.
Only problem is, the love and devotion we have for our beloved — and momentarily unattainable — Twinkies can’t be solved simply with a reappearing act.
Twinkies were first invented in 1930 by James Alexander Dewar of the Continental Baking Company. In May of 2012, Hostess, the original owner and distributor of Twinkies, filed for Chapter 11, stating that Hostess customers were seeking healthier foods.
C. Dean Metropoulous and Apollo Global Management purchased the bankrupt Hostess Brand back in January for a mere $410 million. Not too bad for a part of history and our hearts. These days Twinkies are still making waves as our favorite cream-filled golden sponge cake treat is set for a resurrection on July 15.
They’re coming back with the same artificially delicious flavor but a different tagline — “The Sweetest Comeback In the History of Ever.” Unless the relaunching of Twinkies also includes wholesome ingredients, I’m not sure its revival will do much good.
The idea of relaunching a product is to address problems with the brand, fix them or acknowledge them, and then inform the public how and why you’ve changed. Unfortunately, Twinkies’ combination of 30 ingredients — enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable shortening, and a smaller combination of containing one or more of the following: partially hydrogenated soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and beef fat, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, yellow No. 5, red #40 — will help Twinkies maintain their position as one of America’s most fattening and unhealthy snacks.
The tale of Twinkies’ revival will be a fascinating one. The new Hostess brand owners hope to capitalize on the nostalgia of consumers to keep the product alive and demand rising. Only problem is, there will be no changes to the little pre-packaged cakes.
“Innovation is an important part of every successful company and will be a key part of our strategy moving forward,” said Daren Metropoulous, principal of Metropoulous & Co. “In addition to continuing to ensure we are baking the highest-quality products, we will be looking to expand our product line in ways that will continue to keep it fresh, relevant, and in line with evolving consumer preferences.”
Don’t get me wrong; the sight of any Twinkies package brings a smile to my face, but unless the new Twinkies manufacturer plans to produce its cakes with one of the following benefits — zero carbs, no corn syrup, raw, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, high-protein — its future isn’t looking so bright, minus its artificially enhanced yellow color.
This article, written by me, was originally published by Beneath the Brand on July 2, 2013.