- After filing for bankruptcy, Hostess Brands promised "The sweetest comeback in the history of ever." Under the new ownership of Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., Hostess has delivered on that promise, being named one of the fastest growing mid-sized CPG companies last year, according to The Boston Consulting Group and IRI.
- Product development has been crucial to Hostess' turnaround. These have included the Hostess brand's first brownies; reformulated Mini Muffins with whole grains and without high fructose corn syrup; more limited-time offerings and seasonal varieties; and an expansion into bread, which, like Twinkies, offers a longer-than-usual shelf life.
- Hostess also overhauled its supply chain, forgoing the direct store delivery model typical of fresh bakery to employ the warehouse direct model more common of its other grocery competitors instead.
Listening to the demands of consumers and retailers has been integral to Hostess' comeback and has fueled various developments, particularly better-for-you versions of several of its popular snack products.
With these ingredients changes, Hostess aimed to "provide a little differentiation for our consumer base who is looking for some permissible indulgence or friendly labels and healthier snacking," Hostess CEO Bill Toler told Food Business News.
But through all of its product and operational changes, Hostess has remained true to one characteristic of its products; indulgence.
Hostess and companies like Kraft Heinz haven't been as quick to follow competitors and revamp their entire portfolios. Instead, they have demonstrated that characteristics like indulgence and convenience can sometimes trump health for consumers at certain times.
Another innovation Hostess employed was to merge its social media and packaging efforts in a campaign for the return of Suzy Q's cakes. Hostess printed on the product label social media messages from fans demanding that Hostess bring back Suzy Q's.