When Hostess Brands went bankrupt for the second time in November, fans of the iconic junk food Twinkies despaired.
It has long been thought that Twinkies would survive the end of the world (see funny ad video below with its cheeky allusion to the Mayan Apocalypse), but when Hostess couldn’t work out a new deal with the striking the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, the company announced it would cease operations and look for a buyer. Suddenly Twinkies went missing from store shelves, and fans wept. Since then rumors have swirled around possible suitors, ranging from Flowers Bakeries to Grupo Bimbo and Alpha Baking Co. would acquire the legendary brand names that stir passion in the hearts of consumers and provide comedic material for stand-up acts coast to coast.
Now comes word that Walmart and Kroger may both be looking at taking one or more of the Hostess brands inside as retail exclusives. Imagine only being able to get your Twinkies fix at your local Walmart? The move poses some problems for the chain, who has no baking facilities, though it would presumably acquire the machinery and perhaps the plants from Hostess. Yet that would entail dealing with the militant bakers union, which has shown it’s in no mood to offer concessions, even to save the jobs of its members (the union charges that Hostess management squandered previous concessions, including paying executives big bonuses while asking workers for pay cuts). Kroger already makes some of its own store brand baked goods, so it might make a smoother transition to in-house Twinkies.
In either case, the move makes sense because the removal of Twinkies from stores shelves has resulted in a flood of hoarding and lamentations over a lost childhood touchstone.