published Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Demise of an American icon

Twinkies, the snack cake with an apocryphal shelf life, apparently has reached has reached the end of its line. Hostess Brands Inc., the company that makes the iconic pastry, filed for bankruptcy on Friday and sought court permission to close down operations. The company also said that it had sent home employees at its 33 factories, idling about 18,500 workers. Friday's actions followed a bitter union strike that crippled production and slowed sales.

The shutdown likely means that Twinkies -- and Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread, Dolly Madison and Hostess' nearly 30 other brands -- will disappear from store shelves quickly. Twinkie lovers no doubt will despair, but the end of production of the snack and other Hostess products had been expected. Company officials had said for months that the company was losing money and that the strike meant the loss of sales essential to Hostess' survival.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the largest union with workers at Hostess, had agreed to contract terms. Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and the Grain Millers International Union had not. The latter pair went on strike last week.

No one is sure, yet, what will happen to the Hostess brands. Company officials said there had been some interest from prospective buyers in some of its products, but would not specify which ones. If there is no buyer for Twinkies, they certainly will fade from the scene rather quickly.

The swiftness at which current stock of Twinkies will disappear might surprise some folk. Legend has it that Twinkies are virtually indestructible and that they can last for years, if not decades or longer. Those who promoted the legend said it was because the snack was made entirely of artificial ingredients. It was a good story, but it was not true.

Twinkies -- more than 500 million of them were produced annually during their heyday -- are not indestructible, though at 25 days they did have a longer-than-average shelf life than similar products. The longevity had nothing to do with artificial ingredients or other mystery. The secret to the longevity was a an absence of dairy products in the ingredients. Because they contained no such products, Twinkies spoiled considerably slower than other bakery items.

Labor issues were the main reason for Hostess' decision to shut down operations, but changing consumer habits probably played a role as well. The confection contained 160 calories per cake and sales and profits had slowed over the years as Americans became more calorie-conscious about food choices.

The likely demise of the sugary, cellophane-wrapped American icon is a sad cultural milestone that is generating lots of talk. The real cost related to Hostess' decision to seek bankruptcy deserves far more attention and concern. That's the loss of nearly 20,000 jobs.

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Please take the time to learn more of the facts of a situation before you wax hysteric.

I'm not even sure if this is posted on the proper side of the paper.

November 17, 2012 at 12:41 a.m.
timbo said... are a strange puppy.

Business people can do whatever they want. Nothing including the union, government, Obama or you can change that fact. All you libs can do is raise taxes on us and even then we will pass the cost on to you. You and your pinko friends are helpless. What a bunch of dumb asses.

November 17, 2012 at 9:28 a.m.

Whatever they want, eh?

You must be a friend of Bernie Madoff and Ivan Boesky, and whoever came up with the robo-signing mortgage scam.

You can think nobody will ever call the criminal behavior of businessmen into question, you can hate all "pinkos" as you like, but eventually you'll face the consequences of your amorality.

November 17, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.
timbo said...

There you go again....going to extremes...I thought the subject was the legal Twinkie business. What in the hell does it have to do with Madoff.

November 17, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Pinkos and dumb asses. Sir timbo used those same creative epithets in referring to me elsewhere on this forum. Lordy, he's a veritable fountain of originality. How far did you have to stretch that entrepreneurial imagination of yours to come up with such creative name calling, timbo? C'mon....try a little harder and see if you can top pinkos and dumb asses. I know you've got it in ya. We libs are such vile scum, it should be easy for you to get on a roll with endless name calling.

November 17, 2012 at 6:14 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

While the loss of jobs is certainly lamentable, the demise of practically every product in the Hostess brand is understandable and even welcome news. Twinkies and almost every other confection that Hostess turns out is nothing but a mouthful of sugar, virtually devoid of any distinctive taste whatsoever and certainly devoid of even a speck of nutrition. Just as we once were so ignorant of the perils of smoking that we smoked cigarettes with almost the same frequency we breathed oxygen, once we understood how dangerous smoking was, we were forced to curb the marketing of the "poison sticks" and strive to convince people of their dangers. We now are more aware of the health hazards of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fat, and so many of the other chemicals and presevervatives that such empty-calorie confections are made of. I like sweets as much as anybody but I gave up the Hostess junk a long time ago in favor of snacks made with less sugar and without high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fat. The consumers are wising up to all the needless crap that goes into our commercial foods and beverages and it's time for more of these empty calorie foods to fall by the wayside and get replaced with tastier, healthier snacks that will not contribute to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, clogged arteries, and premature death.

The editor writes, "The likely demise of the sugary, cellophane-wrapped American icon is a sad cultural milestone." Hmm...sad? About as sad as the demise of the Marlboro man on horseback.

November 17, 2012 at 6:39 p.m.

timbo, you're the one who said whatever they want.

You've only yourself to hold responsible for your own intemperate language.

Why can't you do that? Why must you blame others?

November 17, 2012 at 10:40 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo ......golly gee, I Guess all those insults you throw are just informative. I agree you name calling is much more refined than mine.

Is there some kind of manual you liberal socialists use for living the lefty life? You got it all down pat. Obama worshiper, global warming, diet police, love taxes, hate the rich, love government control, etc. Have you ever had an independent thought?

November 18, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

You got me pegged, timbo. What can I say - I'm just a stereotypical, carbon-copy liberal robot, a stale product of those leftist universities, my mind nothing but a sponge that has absorbed the outpourings of lies and socialistic rubbish from the liberal media. I'm secretly jealous of your originality of thought and your creative and brilliant commentary, never uttering a trite, repetetive word or phrase. Your thinking is so pristine in its originality, it's obvious that your mind functions at a much deeper level than any of us leftist conveyors of second-hand thoughts. If ever there was a true Renaissance man, it's you, timbo. I humbly kneel and surrender myself to your greatnASS, oh lord and mASSter of the universe.

November 18, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
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