About four years ago now, junk-food enthusiasts had their world turned upside-down when Hostess Brands announced that it had filed for bankruptcy, and sent panicked fans sprinting to the snack aisle in order to pick up one last box of the iconic Twinkies; or the Ding Dongs; the Ho Hos; the Sno Balls; the Suzy Qz; and the list goes on and on…
Happily, the company was saved when private buyers took over and instigated some major cost-cuts; and now, the same investors who helped revive the hipster brew of choice, Pabst Blue Ribbon (P.B.R.), have taken over Hostess, and they have a mission.
The private equity firm Metropoulos & Co. wants to make snack-cakes great again — and they want to do it with Twinkies.
Per Bloomberg, Metropoulos & Co. bought Hostess in 2013, and is now joining forces with various investors to revamp the image of snack-cakes, and rebrand them as The Snack For The Youth, with the yellow sponge cake tubes at the helm of the movement.
"Hostess has incredible brand power," William Toler, the chief executive officer of Hostess said on a conference call to Bloomberg. "It has an amazing emotional connection with consumers.”
Daren Metropoulos, one of Mr. Metropoulos’ sons and an executive at the family firm, told The New York Times: “There’s a great consumer fan base that hasn’t declined… We saw a real opportunity to revitalize these brands, just with some T.L.C.”
While that may be true, others think that with today’s health-conscious consumers, Metropoulos & Co. is fighting an uphill battle.
They’ll be “fighting gravitational forces in the world of food that are very different than the beer market,” Allen Adamson, former North American chairman of the branding company Landor Associates, said to Bloomberg. “With Twinkies, they have to get people to consume a product that is bucking all the health trends.”
Only time will reveal if the nostalgic tie consumers have to Twinkies will truly trump its nutritionally void profile. Expect to see more ads, and a variety of different Twinkies to roll out later this year.