Hostess vs. Tastykake: And the Winner Is . . .
By now you know, and as the AP reported, “Hostess Brands Inc. says it’s going out of business after striking workers across the country crippled its ability to make its Twinkies, Ding Dongs and other snacks.” Many of you will doubtless miss these cream-filled confections, as well as Sno-Balls and the classic cupcake. Many of us baby boomers grew up ritualistically sucking cream from the center as a rite of passage—passage into the gym and the steam room.
But I was never a Hostess lover. Even to the untutored palette, the cupcake tasted machine-made. The perfectly flat frosting, sugary cream, and the cake itself felt like it was extruded. On the other hand, “fresh-baked” Tastykake, from Philadelphia, mostly an East Coast delicacy, with its soft swirly icing, tasted like they were really baked fresh! Maybe they weren’t sold fresh, but no matter. They had a great jingle too: “Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake”—oh, how true. And they did that all the while baking 4.8 million cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and pies each day. In addition to Tastykake cakes and pies, there were butterscotch krimpets and coffee cakes that would make you swoon.
Like Hostess, however, the Tasty Baking Co. had to tighten its belt; in 2011, Yahoo News reported that the company’s grim financial status could result in a merger or even the sale of the company. (In 2011, Flowers Foods and Tasty Baking Co. commenced a cash-tender agreement). Likewise, CNN/Money reports that some of the iconic Hostess brands, such as Twinkies and Devil Dogs, will survive, because other companies will buy the “intellectual rights” to those brands at liquidation. Whew!!!
But not all the news is so tasty. The tragic consequence of this closure is not all the bereft people who are currently hoarding their favorite brand, but the 18,000 Hostess workers who are losing their jobs.