Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hostess Apocalypse

Forget the zombies.  The real end of the world as we know it came on November 16, not December 21 2012.  That was the day Hostess shut down its ovens.

I buy one or two boxes of Ding Dongs a year.  They're expensive, and that's about how often they are discounted.  I never liked the texture of Twinkies, and while I love Wonder Bread, it's all sugar and can't hold up to a sandwich filling heavier than peanut butter.

I did buy into the panic of facing the reality that Ding Dongs may never be made again and got to the market in time to buy the last box.  That was 10am last Friday.  There were still a few boxes of other items in the Hostess display, but they were probably gone by the end of the day.

The only thing I like about this whole crisis is that none of the cakes will go to waste.  Of this one last batch, every box will or has been sold.  What's more, they will be eaten.  Maybe a few years from now, but they will not end up in the trash.  Americans waste too much food, a lot of it expiring on store shelves because grocers like an overabundance on display.

I'm not going into the reasons that the company folded.  From what I understand, it's pretty much 50-50 to blame on the part of both management and labor.  And now 18,500 people are out of work right before Thanksgiving.  Even if they get hired by whoever buys the company, I can guarantee you they won't make as much in pay or benefits as Hostess was going to give them on the new contract.

And for people who say that Hostess sales were falling because consumers are more health conscious, go get a container of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt and compare the nutrition information to that of a single Ding Dong.  I'm not kidding.  The Ding Dong has a lot of saturated fat, and the yogurt has significantly more protein.  Other than that, the nutritional breakdown is almost identical.  You might as well have the snack cake and make it up with a lean-protein-rich meal at another time of the day.

Whoever ends up with the company, I will doubtless buy another box when they go back on the market, just to show support for the institution.  Then I'll go back to getting them once in a blue moon, because they really are better when you haven't had one in a long time.

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