Twinkies on the rebound returns to stores Monday

July 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 13 (UPI) -- A few familiar snack products will return to U.S. stores in the next few days, but expect some changes, too, the makers of Twinkies and Ho-Hos said.

Hostess -- makers of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, Drakes cakes and various bread lines -- emerged from bankruptcy divided among several owners.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management bought the bulk of the company's iconic snack for $410 million. Grupo Bimbo, which owns Sara Lee, bought Beefsteak bread brands. Flowers Foods Inc. bought the well-known Hostess Wonder Bread brand.

Hostess President Rich Seban said changes are on the way, especially moves to put healthier snacks on store shelves to keep up with consumer trends, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

On the other hand, bankruptcy came with tons of publicity and triggered a wave of nostalgia for the iconic items that have been part of the U.S. snack food landscape for decades. Hostess plans a marketing campaign and a revamping of its distribution operation in an attempt to nearly triple the number of convenience stores that carry their snacks.

The company expects to find a niche in movie theaters and cruise ships and is preparing to take on the summer festival season with company trucks stationed at local fairs.

Emblematic of the campaign to cash in on the nostalgia welling up around the brand, the company is distributing "I Saved The Twinkie" buttons and creating new company T-shirts.

Analysts say the company has to learn to adjust to customer trends to stay afloat.

"We're not just going to continue to market the same products we always have," Seban said. "We're aiming at consumers that probably don't purchase our products today."

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