Hostess demise long overdue: terrible food


Anya Batrakova  Journal Staff


Hostess – the old, beloved brand based in Irving, Texas – is finally going out of business, and it has stirred up quite a controversy.

The union strike, and the end of the brand, has been building up for years. This is the second time Hostess has filed for bankruptcy in less than a decade. Robert Drain, a bankruptcy judge, has approved Hostess Brands Inc.’s plan to fire its 18,500 workers and start ending its operations.

Twinkies, Ho Hos, and Wonder Bread are up for sale now. People fear they will be gone completely; the continuation of the products is in question in their minds. Read: people are freaking out.

The liquidation means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, about 5,500 delivery routes, and 570 bakery outlet stores, according to Hostess. The crisis began on November 9, when thousands of members of the bakers’ union went out on strike to protest wage, health care, and pension cuts. Hostess wanted a 17 percent decrease in their contribution for health care benefits, and the bakers’ union objected to it in a voice ballot.

Hostess is now sending out termination notices.

It is not just the union’s fault – profits have been pretty low for a while. This is understandable: Hostess products do not, in my opinion, taste very good. And besides the new and better-tasting products now available for kids, the people that grew up with Hostess as the main supermarket pastry staple are, well, literally dying out.

Wonder Bread was invented way back on May 21, 1921. Not many people eat it anymore, at least not like they used to. It is purely a nostalgia item at this point. Our tastes for bread have changed; unless you’re a 5 year old, you don’t want your bread so artificial and fluffy you can easily roll it up into a ball, crust and all.

But the Wonder Bread logo is iconic and is a symbol of a better time in peoples’ minds – a simpler, more traditional time. In their minds, people didn’t use technology constantly or air out their dirty laundry, and women were kept as housewives. It brings to mind a mother in an apron making one a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Wonder Bread as an after-school snack.

Twinkies are equally nostalgic. This may be a generalization but I’ve never met anyone my age that actually enjoys Twinkies. I’m not some gourmet food connoisseur, but Twinkies don‘t do it for me. They’re too soft, too sweet, too waxy, and too ‘fake’ tasting. I remember taking a bite of one a few years ago; they mushed into some corn syrup and preservative amalgam in my mouth that I had to struggle to choke down. This is what people are making such a big deal over?

Twinkies are selling on eBay for hundreds of dollars! That is insane. But it is the price of preserving a youthful ideal.

Even I have to admit, however, that there really aren’t too many brands as iconic as Hostess that links us to those old-timey values. I imagine that this is why there are so many diehard retro toy collectors. As far as food goes, though, nothing can touch Hostess in that regard.