The story begins in 1919, when the world met what is now known as the Hostess® Cup Cake, at the sale price of two for 5 cents. It was the beginning of a revolution, at the height of the Toll House and Oreo cookies. No one had to search for a bakery or fire up the oven for a snack attack anymore. Six years later, the Continental Baking Company, which had found gold with its Wonder® packaged white bread, named its new creations Hostess and they were a success. In 1930, an employee named Jimmy Dewar came up with a cake called Twinkies®. and they beat cupcakes by a mile. Twinkies are an American icon, with 500 million sold each year.
But it wasn’t until 1947 that a machine was invented that injected cream filling into cupcakes and Twinkies, wowing its customers by providing not just an individually wrapped treat, but one packed with creamy filling. What idea. As other products were added to their repertoire, including deep-fried fruitcakes, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos, the cupcakes category was secured with no end in sight. A staggering 11,000 cakes are currently being produced every hour, so joke around all you want, but Hostess is grinning from ear to ear.
Although the property has been turned over multiple times in its history and faced bankruptcy, those snacks keep coming and their popularity continues to this day, proving Americans with that artificial cream filling and the convenience of sipping a sandwich. Fried Twinkies are a popular item at many regional and state fairs each summer, as Americans line up for this high-fat treat, along with stalls selling deep-fried funnel cakes. Featured in numerous movies and cookbooks, the Twinkie continues to reign despite jokes from comedians and taunts from celebrity chefs. (One has to wonder if there are secret fanatics who indulge in private.)
Although preservatives are used for a long shelf life, the company insists that the Twinkies are removed from your local grocery store after 10 days, making way for more “fresh.” Here is the current parade of the hostess snacks:
1) Ho Ho’s – best seller, basically a rolled up version of Ding Dongs
2) Twinkies – The butt of endless jokes, still high on the list
3) Sno Balls: Marshmallow Coated Chocolate Cake Rolled in Coconut Flakes
4) Ding Dongs: shaped like a hockey puck and covered in chocolate
5) Suzy Qs – no frosting cake with cream filling
6) Cherry Pies: fried and easy to eat by hand
7) Vanilla Zingers – oblong cakes filled with cream, vanilla queen
8) Chocolate or Orange Cupcakes – The classic one, complete with a white squiggle on top
9) Crunch Donettes – People of all ages start their day with these mini-treats (easily eaten while driving)
10) Mini Muffins – Not exactly bakery quality but still popular
Currently, the main competing brand Little Debbie, started by the McKee family during the 1930s and still a private corporation, occupies most of the space in the snack aisle that was once dominated by Hostess. Their oatmeal cream cake remains the flagship product, followed by Swiss Cake Rolls and Nutty Bars® Wafers. Dozens of additions have been added since 1960, when the company took off nationally, racking up a staggering 157 billion snack cakes sold, totaling $ 1.4 billion in annual sales, followed by Hostess with $ 670 million. Dollars.
Maybe actress Ann Blyth just did it for the money, or maybe she actually fed her own kids cakes, but either way, those packaged treats are made so fast they’re probably pretty fresh. However you look at it, when it comes to our sweet tooth, we are all children at heart.