Twinkies Losing Its Twinkle, Time To Wrap Up?
As the makers of a one-time favorite snack of America, Twinkies, the Hostess Brands head back into bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than 10 years, it seems the right time to ask – is it time to wrap up? The Brand that also makes Sno Balls and Wonder Bread is in the throes of high labor costs and rising prices of raw material like sugar, which have put the company into serious debt.
1) The Present
The company, for now, claims that it owns enough cash to keep a stock of its Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, etc, but not enough capital to carry on till long term. This 87-year-old company’s major problem, however, is not just the dwindling cash but a rising consciousness among Americans against unhealthy snacks, like Twinkies. About three decades back, when Americans used to gorge up on cakes, white bread, and other such ‘unhealthy’ food items, there was not much ado about that. However, research suggests that things are changing now and it is these changing perceptions and attitudes that are having its toll on the Hostess brand.
2) The Change
The snacking habits of Americans are changing and this was most evident in the research undertaken in the decade gone by. According to one such research, 36% of Americans ate white bread as compared to 54% a decade ago. As opposite to this, 54% Americans consumed wheat bread while only 43% used to do so in 2000. In addition to this, the consumption of healthy snacks is also on the rise. While only 18% Americans used to consume yogurt once in two weeks 10 years ago, today, 32% of people eat yogurt at least once every fortnight. That has a lot to do with the benefits of yogurt.
3) The Verdict
The research firm, which conducted a similar research, the NPD Group, is a consumer marketing research firm. Its chief industry analyst, Harry Balzer, gave his take on the real reason behind the change, as he says, “We’re less likely to be snacking on items that we shouldn’t be snacking on.” If that sounds like the death-knell for the company’s prospects, it is just the beginning.
4) Is Twinkies Losing Twinkle?
Twinkies is a snack cake, with a cream filling, which is full of empty calories. Similarly, another Hostess product, Ding Dong cake, is even unhealthier with one serving containing 368 calories and 19.4 grams of fat. With public awareness rising against unhealthy snacks such as these, the loyalties are shifting and it is evident in the choices that people are making as well as those being made by the company itself. In order to counter the shifting faith in snacks, the brand launched some healthier options like 100-calorie cupcakes and Twinkies besides attempting to lower the sodium levels in some of its products. However, nothing helped to change the company’s junk-food status.
The news that the makers of Twinkies are going to file for bankruptcy has evoked nostalgia among a generation of Americans. Although, it is clear that the company needs to go for an overhaul of its operations, not just the products, to help change the image of Twinkies, and other products, from being just empty calories, to a healthier option. However, till that happens, Americans are not going to open too many packs of Twinkies.
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