NEW YORK (AP) - Hostess is betting on a sweet comeback for Twinkies when they return to shelves next month.
The company that went bankrupt after an acrimonious fight with its unionized workers last year is back up and running under new owners and a leaner structure. It says it plans to have Twinkies and other snack cakes back on shelves starting July 15.
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 bear the tag line "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever."
Whether you find them delicious or disgusting, Hostess is expecting blockbuster sales for Twinkies’ return to shelves next month.
"A lot of impostor products have come to the market while Hostess has been off the shelves," says Daren Metropoulos, a principal of the investment firm Metropoulos & Co., which teamed up with Apollo Global Management to buy a variety of Hostess snacks.
In the months since they vanished from shelves, Hostess' cakes have been getting a few touchups. For the CupCakes, the company is now using dark cocoa instead of milk chocolate to give them a richer, darker appearance.
Hostess President Rich Seban stressed that the changes were to improve the cakes, not to cut costs. Prices for the cakes will remain the same; a box of 10 Twinkies will cost $3.99.
Looking ahead, Seban sees Hostess expanding its product lineup. He noted that Hostess cakes are known for three basic textures: the spongy cake, the creamy filling and the thicker icing. But he said different textures - such as crunchy - could be introduced, as well as different flavors.
"We can have some fun with that mixture," he said.
He also said there are many trendy health attributes the company could tap into, such as gluten-free, added fiber, low sugar and low sodium.
During bankruptcy proceedings, Hostess had said that its overall sales had been declining, although the company didn't give a breakout on the performance of individual brands. But Seban is confident Twinkies will have staying power beyond its re-launch.
As for the literal shelf-life, Seban is quick to refute the snack cake's fabled indestructibility.
"Forty-five days - that's it," he said. "They don't last forever."