Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Twinkies resurrection

According to an article credited to Combined News Services, a bankruptcy judge has awarded two investment companies the right to make Hostess Twinkies.

The article says, “Hostess Brands Inc. is selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other brands to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million. Evan Metropolous . . . said he wants to have the snack cakes back on shelves this year . . . Hostess closed its factories in late November after a strike by the union. The company had been struggling financially for years.”

I haven’t had a Hostess Twinkie in years, but I still remember the texture and taste, even the taste of the cream filling. There may be hundreds of thousands of Twinkie junkies right now who have gone through serious withdrawals since their favorite snack food was taken off the market. They may be rejoicing right now at the news that Twinkies will return.

Ah, but I have a suspicion that when Twinkies do return, no matter how they are touted to be exactly like the original Twinkie snack cakes, that many jonesing Twinkies lovers will cry foul, that the new Twinkies don’t taste like the old Twinkies!

I believe that even if the original recipe is followed to the letter, and produced by the same production people rehired by the companies taking over former Hostess bakeries, that some customers will say the “new” Twinkies do not taste like the “old” Twinkies. I think it has something to do with a trick of memory, or even the cliché, expectation is greater than realization.

We all remember Coca-Cola replacing their original Coke with New Coke to much fanfare in 1985, and then the complaints came rolling in that customers wanted their old Coke back. Coke did something they hadn’t planned to do. They came out with “Classic Coke” and even then Coke fiends screamed. The Classic Coke did not taste like their original Coke, they claimed, even though the company said it was the same formula.*

New Coke went away after a while. The whole thing is now considered one of the most ill-advised corporate blunders in merchandising history, right up there with the Ford Edsel. Maybe those same people who felt cheated of their “real” Coke will be the same ones screaming for their “real” Twinkies.

*A mistake made when re-introducing the original formula was that bottlers used high fructose corn syrup, which is cheaper than cane sugar, an ingredient of the original Coke formula.

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