Twinkies, one of the most iconic snacks to ever grace grocery and convenience stores, have long had the reputation for extreme longevity. So much so, the world couldn't believe the snack's sudden disappearance at the beginning of 2011, when Twinkie production was suspended. Prior to that, Americans firmly had believed the golden sponges would never be discontinued.
Now, eight years after a four-year hiatus, Twinkies are back and better than ever. In fact, according to newly appointed Hostess CEO Andy Callahan, the brand is thriving in a world that has welcomed it with open arms. Of course, he can thank consumers as much as some savvy brand management and manufacturing overhauls, which streamlined production.
Callahan has successfully transformed Hostess from being on the brink of demise to adapting to competition and consumer habits since he took over in May of 2018. Since his management, Callahan has worked on improving innovation, acquiring products, and expanding "eating occasions" throughout the day for consumers, according to Food Dive.
Hostess has recently revamped its corporate logo and announced it will be opening a "next-generation" bakery in Arkansas that will "increase Donettes and cake platform capacity by 20%," according to CSN News. Thanks to these efforts, today Hostess has reported an annual growth rate of 10% during the past few years, outperforming its competitor's growth by 7%.
Hostess can, in part, thank the pandemic for the increased comeback. During the height of COVID-19, Hostess saw an increase in sales of snack cakes, which surged by 14.3%, according to Food Business. Snack cakes reigned supreme during the pandemic partly due to Hostess reliably keeping shelves stocked when their competition saw shortages. Additionally, attitudes for "unhealthy" foods changed as consumers sought out familiar comfort brands during a stressful time.
While the pandemic wanes, consumer attitudes may change again, but for now, the cakes are steadily leaving Dollar Tree and convenience store shelves. Additionally, the brand says they aren't looking for a healthy makeover, but will stick to the nostalgic image consumers love. In an effort to keep interest, however, Hostess has released new products, most recently including Jumbo Donettes, as well as a new line of sweet breakfast options.
As for the future of the snack cake king, Callahan said interview with Food Dive that he believes he is the "caretaker of a 100 year old brand," that he sees himself "handing over to the next generation." It seems Twinkies may outlive us, after all.
In other nostalgic news, The Most Famous Sauce in McDonald's History Is Coming Back Next Week.