Yesterday I had this craving for something sweet to go along with my morning coffee. My first thought was a Hostess Ho Ho or maybe some Ding Dongs, even some Zingers would be good. Then suddenly it hit me, the Hostess Brand is no more! No more Ho Ho’s, Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Snow Balls or little chocolate Donettes. No more individual fruit pies or Dolly Madison products. How can that be? Hostess is as American as apple pie! But now they’ve closed their oven doors. It was then, in my moment of craving that I remembered all the news reports of last month about the state of the Hostess Brand and their ultimate demise. Funny I hadn’t really given it much thought until I wanted a Ho Ho! Please say it ain’t so!
I grew up with Hostess, we all did. Hostess was a staple in my childhood diet. At least 3 times a week I would open up my sack lunch and feast on a PB&J or Bologna sandwich made on fresh and wholesome Wonder Bread, the bread that helped build bodies 12 ways! I would have probably eaten it everyday but Tuesdays were hot dog day at school and Thursday’s it was sloppy joes, and they were a real bargain. For 30 cents you got a dog or a sloppy joe, a bag of potato chips, a cupcake and a small carton of milk. For a dime more you could get a 50/50 ice cream bar or a Fudgesicle. Such a deal! Yeah those lunches were one of the best things about Catholic School. Now that I think about it I think the buns were Hostess brand. So maybe I did eat the Wonder stuff everyday. Now, with Wonder Bread gone I wonder what kids will eat to help build strong bones and bodies 12 different ways.
I used to love all Hostess products. Ho ho’s were by far my favorites but when I was younger the chocolate cupcakes with the white squiggle on top were my first choice. The creamy center was heavenly! And what about the Sno Balls, they were my second choice, chocolate cake with cream filling, covered with that spongy marshmallow stuff with coconut on it. Delicious! They came in packs of two, a pink and a white. In time I guess Hostess got tired of offering a variety or maybe it was just cheaper but eventually they were both pink but it didn’t matter to us. We ate them up!
Do you remember the funky orange Sno Balls that used to come out around Halloween or the green ones for St Patrick’s Day? I do. I would always peel the marshmallowy stuff off, eat the two cakes, then eat the marshmallowy stuff last. I remember once putting the two intact marshmallow covers back in the packaging and positioning them so they looked whole, then faking out my sister with them. She had the last laugh though, she ate both of them both before I could stop her.
It’s hard to imagine life without Hostesand s. ‘They’ve been around for as long as I’ve been alive! Their products were great! They were certainly not very nutritious (except for maybe the Wonder Bread) with all that sugar and preservatives, but they sure were tasty. My least favorite were Twinkies. I was never actually a big fan, oh believe me, I’d eat them if there was nothing else to choose from, especially to satisfy an attack of the munchies. But I always thought they were kind of greasy and the cream filling was a bit much. It was probably the same filling they used in all their products with just a touch of vanilla flavoring, but to me, it tasted sweeter in Twinkies. I think what really turned me off to Twinkies is when I heard they were loaded with so many preservative that they could possibly last up to 25 years! Yeah that made them a whole lot less appealing. Go figure.
I don’t understand how such a large, widely known company that has been a mainstay of American culture for so long could fail so miserably and be forced to shut down. Their product line and packaging has been the same forever so it couldn’t be that expensive to produce. Was it too hard to compete in the new health conscious society of ours ? You know, the one where obesity runs unchecked? I doubt it. Was it their inability to change with the times and be more innovative and competitive? I don’t think so. So what really brought Hostess Brand down?
To hear Hostess management tell it, their demise lies squarely on the shoulders of their labor force. In one of their final press releases they claim that Hostess Brands, Inc. was forced to shut down all operations and sell all company assets because of a costly Bakers Union strike. What a crock! Truth be told Hostess was asking their work force to take yet another pay cut, this one of 8%. Meanwhile senior executives of Hostess were enjoying pay raises of up to a 300% with incredible severance packages. With the new raises the CEO jumped from $750k a year to over $1.2 million a year plus benefits. Hello! What’s wrong with this picture? Just another case of corporate greed, plain and simple. Capitalism, gotta love it! Not!
Hostess Brand will surely be missed. particularly by all of us Boomers who grew up with them. Thank God there are still some of the old products around to help satisfy our sugar need. Cracker Jacks can still be found and Kellogg is still making my childhood favorite cereal, Sugar Pops! Today, the ‘sugar’ has been removed from the name. They are now called ‘Corn Pops’ but they’re still loaded with sugar. Of course I haven’t had them in years, way too much sugar for this old man. No I have to make do with Bran or oat flakes. Yummy! Every now and then I’m lucky enough to find a Look Bar, Abba Zaba or sometimes even a Big Hunk candy bar to satisfy my sweet tooth. They’re good and quite nostalgic, but Hostess cream filled cakes will always be my favorite treat.