INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—When Hostess Brands Inc. announced plans to wind down operations and sell off iconic brands such as Twinkies during bankruptcy, it meant plant closures and a loss of hundreds of jobs in Indiana.
“The brand itself has a lot of value but in that bakery business right now, there’s just massive overcapacity, similar to the auto industry,” said Todd Roberson, senior lecturer in finance at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis. “And the bakery business just doesn’t have the political influence that the auto industry does. I don’t think the bakery industry’s going to get bailed out.”
On social media, Americans were feeling nostalgic about the classic American brand.
“People love Twinkies; they just don’t like to eat them,” says Roberson.
Roberson says Americans love the Twinkies brand more than they love the actual cream-filled sponge cakes.
“We have been told over the years that these products aren’t good for us. Ultimately, you hear that enough and it begins to have an impact on sales,” explains Roberson, who remembers Twinkies being offered as part of a school lunch.
“I think it was a low-cost, easy way for a mother with a lot to do to give her child a dessert. My mom always said to me, ‘Would you like a dessert? Here’s a Twinkie.’ It was very easy. I also believe if you look back at the packaging of Twinkies it was absolutely beautiful; really, it was almost artistic. And I think the primary colors and the way that the packaging was presented really stuck in people’s minds.”
While Hostess may sell off the Twinkie brand, Roberson is confident it will still exist.
“I don’t think the brand is going to go away. My guess is, as the company goes into bankruptcy, somebody’s going to snatch up that brand and revive it,” he says. “It’ll just probably be without a unionized labor force.
“I think Twinkies is an American icon, and I think that brand’s always going to have some place, if nothing else as a dessert item. It’s just ingrained in people’s minds.”