Company drops DSD model and will ship directly to warehouses in an effort to reach more c-stores.
Based on the outpouring of nostalgia sparked by its demise, Hostess is expecting a blockbuster return next month for Twinkies and other sugary treats, such as CupCakes and Donettes. The company says the cakes will taste the same but that the boxes will now bare the tag line “The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever,” according to an Associated Press report.
The move also can be seen as a boost for convenience stores. Hostess will also now deliver to warehouses that supply retailers, rather than delivering directly to stores, said Rich Seban, the president of Hostess who previously served as chief operating officer. That will greatly expand its reach, letting it deliver to dollar stores and nearly all convenience stores in the U.S.
Previously, he said Hostess was only able to reach about a third of the country’s 150,000-plus convenience stores.
Hostess Brands Inc. was struggling for years before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in early 2012. Workers blamed the troubles on years of mismanagement, as well as a failure of executives to invest in brands to keep up with changing tastes. The company said it was weighed down by higher pension and medical costs than its competitors, whose employees weren’t unionized.
To steer it through its bankruptcy reorganization, Hostess hired restructuring expert Greg Rayburn as its CEO. But Rayburn ultimately failed to reach a contract agreement with its second largest union. In November, he blamed striking workers for crippling the company’s ability to maintain normal production and announced that Hostess would liquidate, the report said.
The shuttering triggered a rush on Hostess snack cakes, with stores selling out of the most popular brands within hours.
About 15,000 unionized workers lost their jobs in the aftermath.
In unwinding its business, Hostess sold off its brands in chunks to different buyers. Its major bread brands including Wonder were sold to Flowers Foods, which makes Tastykakes. McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, snapped up Drake’s Cake, which includes Devil Dogs and Yodels.
Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo bought Twinkies and other Hostess cakes for $410 million.
Production was also consolidated, from 11 bakery plants to four — one each in Georgia, Kansas, Illinois and Indiana. The headquarters were moved from Texas to Kansas City, Mo., where Hostess was previously based and still had some accounting offices.
In the months since they vanished from shelves, the cakes have been getting a few touchups as well. For the CupCakes, the company is now using dark cocoa instead of milk chocolate to give them a richer, darker appearance. Prices for the cakes will remain the same; a box of 10 Twinkies will cost $3.99.