Last November, the Twinkie owners at Hostess threatened to liquidate its assets if striking union workers refused to come back to work. Half a year later, a lot has changed. Hostess plunged into bankruptcy proceedings; union leaders and Hostess heads exchanged blame; and consumers emptied grocery store shelves out of fear that Twinkies might disappear for good.
Twinkies are coming back on July 15, however. When they do return, not everything will be as it was in 2012 for the owners, bakers and packaging. Here are the key changes to note:
1. NEW OWNERS
Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. picked up the Hostess snack cake business, including Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos after a bankruptcy judge approved the $410 million sale in March.
2. NEW LABOR
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union voiced objections to the Hostess bankruptcy and everything that followed. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters joined in as well, referring to the loss of union jobs as a "great tragedy." A plant that previously employed 400 workers in Columbus, Ga. will provide baking space for the new Twinkies—but not with the same labor obligations that Hostess had last year.
3. NEW HELP FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA
The Columbus bakery re-launch will come courtesy of Georgia Quick Start, a state program that will provide customized workforce training as an incentive to operate there.
4. A NEW TAGLINE
The snack cakes' boxes with ditch the classic "Hey, Where's The Cream Filling?" catchphrase for a more timely and more self-congratulatory option: "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever." Expect to see that on all of the re-launched Hostess products this year.
(Image credit: Hostess)
5. FRIENDS HAVE BECOME COMPETITORS
Thanks to the bankruptcy, not only have Beefsteak and Wonder bread left Hostess for new owners; Twinkies' former sister snack cakes under the Drake's brand, such as Ring Dings, Yodels, Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles, now belong to McKee Foods, who won them with a $27.5 million bid. McKee expects to put Drake's cakes back on shelves in "late summer/early fall" of this year.
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