Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ding Dong: "Twinkies Prepping for Bankruptcy: Everything You Need to Know"

From the WSJ's Deal Journal:
Weep, children.

Hostess Brands, the creator of magical marvels of modern science such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, Deal Journal colleagues Mike Spector and Julie Jargon are reporting.

If Hostess tips into bankruptcy, it would be the second trip into Chapter 11 for the company. (In legal parlance, the second time around is referred to as “Chapter 22.” Get it?)

Here is a rundown of highlights and lowlights of Hostess’s history so far.

So Many Treats: In addition to the aforementioned Twinkies and Wonder Bread, Hostess Brands also makes schoolyard favorites Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Suzy Q’s, Fruit Pies, Sno Balls, Dolly Madison Zingers and Drake’s cakes. (We’ve always wondered: Aren’t Suzy Q’s essentially the same as Ding Dongs, which are the same as Ho Hos, which are the same as Drake’s Rings Dings, also owned by Hostess?) And lest you think Hostess is just stuffing our faces with junk, the company also owns healthier brands such as Nature’s Pride breads.

Origins of the Twinkie: James A. Dewar was a manager of a Chicago-area Continental Baking Co. plant in 1930, when he got the idea of injecting cakes with cream filing. He said he came up with the name for his invention when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for “Twinkle Toe Shoes.” Dewar started his career driving a horse-drawn pound cake wagon and retired in 1972 with the unofficial title of “Mr. Twinkie.” He died in 1985, at the age of 88.

Half Baked: Belt-tightening in the 1940s led to a shortage of metals, and that meant no blades for bread slicers. To work around the shortage, Wonder Bread began to sell bags of unsliced loafs. In 1980, the Center for Science in the Public Interest — the scolds that ruined all the fun of eating movie popcorn and soda–  complained that Wonder Bread’s ad slogan at the time was misleading. The statement: Wonder Bread has “nutrition that even whole wheat cannot beat.” Wonder Bread spiked the TV commercial....MORE