Farewell to Hostess

Hostess Brands is dissolving the company.  The refusal of union workers to take a pay cut was the last straw, but the company was already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Losing their jobs will be 18,500 employees at 33 factories and 500 stores. But at least they didn’t have to take a pay cut!

Hostess made products that became icons of American culture:  Twinkies, Wonder Bread, Snow Balls, Ding Dongs, Ho-Hos, and (my favorite) Hostess Cupcakes.   Other Hostess brands include Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Drake’s, Home Pride, and (my favorite) Dolly Madison.  (No more of those white powdered donuts?)

Remember the “Twinkie Defense,” in which an accused murderer pleaded that he was not responsible for his actions because he ate too much junk-food, being in a state of sugar intoxication when he killed his victim?  That didn’t work.  For other examples of Twinkies in American culture, read this.

Apparently, America has been giving up that soft, pillowy, white bread in favor of hard, wheaty, textured bread, and cutting back on sugary treats with cream filling in favor of healthy, locally-grown snacks.  (Well, that part’s unlikely.  So what happened to these products?)

They were certainly fixtures of my childhood.  I remember pondering how Hostess got that filling into the cakes!  And how can I have Thanksgiving without turkey leftovers on that soft Wonderbread?

A petition has been started asking the White House to bail-out the company.  Hostess is too delicious to fail!  Meanwhile, Twinkie hoarding has begun.  A box of ten is going for as much as $229.99 at E-bay.

But surely, for the sake of America and all that is sweet and soft and gooey, as Hostess liquidates and sells its assets, surely  some other company will buy the rights to the Hostess icons.

Twinkie maker Hostess moves to wind down operations, lay off its 18,500 workers – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Looks like a good omen. Seriously, those treats are not healthy.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Looks like a good omen. Seriously, those treats are not healthy.

  • Greg

    Hostess will sell off all of its assets. This will include all of its real estate, equipment, etc. It will also include all of its brands. Someone will scarf up the rights to make Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, and everything else. We have not seen the last of these.

  • Greg

    Hostess will sell off all of its assets. This will include all of its real estate, equipment, etc. It will also include all of its brands. Someone will scarf up the rights to make Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, and everything else. We have not seen the last of these.

  • Kirk

    There are, of course, two sides to this story. The Daily Kos (yes, I know. Take it for what it’s worth…) published a blog post from a former hostess employee about the company’s treatment of it’s employees. According to him, since 2005 his salary has been cut by half, from $48,000/year to $25,000/year. More disturbingly, the company liquidated its employee’s self-funded pensions to help itself stay solvent. Under bankruptcy, this pension fund, and Hostess’ employees retirement, is up in smoke. Bottom line, it seems Hostess Brands was woefully mismanaged. I’d attribute that to their bankruptcy as much as I would their union problems. Considering Hostess will probably be bought and restructured by a larger conglomerate, if I’m were a union member, I’d probably take my chances with the bankruptcy.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/18/1162786/-Inside-the-Hostess-Bankery

  • Kirk

    There are, of course, two sides to this story. The Daily Kos (yes, I know. Take it for what it’s worth…) published a blog post from a former hostess employee about the company’s treatment of it’s employees. According to him, since 2005 his salary has been cut by half, from $48,000/year to $25,000/year. More disturbingly, the company liquidated its employee’s self-funded pensions to help itself stay solvent. Under bankruptcy, this pension fund, and Hostess’ employees retirement, is up in smoke. Bottom line, it seems Hostess Brands was woefully mismanaged. I’d attribute that to their bankruptcy as much as I would their union problems. Considering Hostess will probably be bought and restructured by a larger conglomerate, if I’m were a union member, I’d probably take my chances with the bankruptcy.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/18/1162786/-Inside-the-Hostess-Bankery

  • SKPeterson

    There are far, far more important things in life than snack cakes. Like, for example, the fact that the University of Tennessee has fired its coach and is now searching for a replacement. Priorities people!

  • SKPeterson

    There are far, far more important things in life than snack cakes. Like, for example, the fact that the University of Tennessee has fired its coach and is now searching for a replacement. Priorities people!

  • Tom Hering

    Bottom line, it seems Hostess Brands was woefully mismanaged. (@ 3)

    What? Just because a dozen top executives gave themselves an 80% pay increase at the same time they were slashing workers’ pay and benefits? You think guys like that are capable of mismanagement? No, no, no. The downfall of Hostess clearly began just one week ago when the Union (read: ingrates) went on strike.

  • Tom Hering

    Bottom line, it seems Hostess Brands was woefully mismanaged. (@ 3)

    What? Just because a dozen top executives gave themselves an 80% pay increase at the same time they were slashing workers’ pay and benefits? You think guys like that are capable of mismanagement? No, no, no. The downfall of Hostess clearly began just one week ago when the Union (read: ingrates) went on strike.

  • Trey

    I think the causes are clear both sides management and the union were greedy.

  • Trey

    I think the causes are clear both sides management and the union were greedy.

  • Booklover

    I think the blame has to lie, at least partially, with the product they were selling. Seriously, just the thought of all that processed white flour and white sugar makes my intestines paste together.

  • Booklover

    I think the blame has to lie, at least partially, with the product they were selling. Seriously, just the thought of all that processed white flour and white sugar makes my intestines paste together.

  • Carl Vehse

    The same thing happened to Archway (who made the various soft oatmeal cookies). Bought and sold several times, eventually questionable management practices led to bankruptcy. The brand name and recipes were sold in bankruptcy court, and after everything was settled, the company that bought the Archway rights began making and selling the cookies again.

    It will likely happen with the Hostess products, but probably wihout union employees being used. Whether the new owners, in the U.S. or not, act like ‘ding dongs” or not will then be seen.

  • Carl Vehse

    The same thing happened to Archway (who made the various soft oatmeal cookies). Bought and sold several times, eventually questionable management practices led to bankruptcy. The brand name and recipes were sold in bankruptcy court, and after everything was settled, the company that bought the Archway rights began making and selling the cookies again.

    It will likely happen with the Hostess products, but probably wihout union employees being used. Whether the new owners, in the U.S. or not, act like ‘ding dongs” or not will then be seen.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    First the Democrats win the elections, then Ho Hos go away. I’m not sure my life is sustainable anymore.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    First the Democrats win the elections, then Ho Hos go away. I’m not sure my life is sustainable anymore.

  • larry

    Dang, a month ago the two genious parties could have pitted Big Bird getting chopped Vs. Twinkies getting chopped and had “million man marches” for Big Bird Vs. Twinkies.

  • larry

    Dang, a month ago the two genious parties could have pitted Big Bird getting chopped Vs. Twinkies getting chopped and had “million man marches” for Big Bird Vs. Twinkies.

  • Carl Vehse

    Well, Lars, at least in a sense we’ll have a twinkie in the White House for the next four more years.

  • Carl Vehse

    Well, Lars, at least in a sense we’ll have a twinkie in the White House for the next four more years.

  • Patrick kyle

    I had a job in outside sales years ago. After they had repeatedly cut our commissions, they started to merge our territories. I saw the writing on the wall and got another job. After I left, the company engaged in a couple rounds of ‘firings’ so they could thin the ranks without having to pay unemployment. Six months later, they laid off what remained of the sales force and contracted with another company to handle their sales. I learned several lessons from that, not the least of which is that I alone am responsible for my financial well being, not some company. I am not owed a living, and there is now considerably more risk than there has been in entrusting my financial well being soley to an organization owned by someone else. New economic realities require new thinking.

  • Patrick kyle

    I had a job in outside sales years ago. After they had repeatedly cut our commissions, they started to merge our territories. I saw the writing on the wall and got another job. After I left, the company engaged in a couple rounds of ‘firings’ so they could thin the ranks without having to pay unemployment. Six months later, they laid off what remained of the sales force and contracted with another company to handle their sales. I learned several lessons from that, not the least of which is that I alone am responsible for my financial well being, not some company. I am not owed a living, and there is now considerably more risk than there has been in entrusting my financial well being soley to an organization owned by someone else. New economic realities require new thinking.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @5,
    Kinda like when Congress votes itself a pay raise (which it has done numerous times) while decrying a woeful economy?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @5,
    Kinda like when Congress votes itself a pay raise (which it has done numerous times) while decrying a woeful economy?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Was at the local grocery store last night and noticed that all the Hostess products were completely cleaned out. Meanwhile the shelf below was completely stocked with Little Debbie’s products, many of which are about the same as their Hostess equivalents.

    This morning, the corner gas station / convenience store by my house still had a mostly full stocked shelf of Dolly Madison products. They were out of my favorite vanilla frosted Zingers, though.

    I have no doubt that Hostess products will be back after the company sells their assets to someone else. They’ll probably even be made in the same factories by the same workers after settling for a much less ambitious union contract (or maybe even no contract at all).

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Was at the local grocery store last night and noticed that all the Hostess products were completely cleaned out. Meanwhile the shelf below was completely stocked with Little Debbie’s products, many of which are about the same as their Hostess equivalents.

    This morning, the corner gas station / convenience store by my house still had a mostly full stocked shelf of Dolly Madison products. They were out of my favorite vanilla frosted Zingers, though.

    I have no doubt that Hostess products will be back after the company sells their assets to someone else. They’ll probably even be made in the same factories by the same workers after settling for a much less ambitious union contract (or maybe even no contract at all).

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Another victory for the unions.

    They will cut off their nose to spite their face.

    I was a union member for 20 years (forced membership to work in that industry – I finally had enough and quit), and I remember a conversation that I had with one of our union leaders. He said that he was happy that all of the business were leaving California (in droves), because if they didn’t want to pay “decent wages and higher taxes…then who needs ‘em!”.

    California, the once economic powerhouse, now resembles other union dominated areas. Poor and getting poorer and Democratically controlled.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Another victory for the unions.

    They will cut off their nose to spite their face.

    I was a union member for 20 years (forced membership to work in that industry – I finally had enough and quit), and I remember a conversation that I had with one of our union leaders. He said that he was happy that all of the business were leaving California (in droves), because if they didn’t want to pay “decent wages and higher taxes…then who needs ‘em!”.

    California, the once economic powerhouse, now resembles other union dominated areas. Poor and getting poorer and Democratically controlled.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    If you look at Hostess’ product portfolio–nothing really worth eating except for perhaps Nature’s Pride–it’s hard to come to any conclusion but that they were mismanaged. All those sunk capital costs, and they completely ignored the need to have a product line that conformed to today’s society?

    Overall, giga-dittos to Booklover’s comment. Yes, the union was an issue, and yes, management was an issue, but the crucial issue is that they simply made the wrong product for today with the wrong cost structure.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    If you look at Hostess’ product portfolio–nothing really worth eating except for perhaps Nature’s Pride–it’s hard to come to any conclusion but that they were mismanaged. All those sunk capital costs, and they completely ignored the need to have a product line that conformed to today’s society?

    Overall, giga-dittos to Booklover’s comment. Yes, the union was an issue, and yes, management was an issue, but the crucial issue is that they simply made the wrong product for today with the wrong cost structure.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    If the union were to get a foothold in the pizza business. And the price of pizzas went up 50%, and many pizza places went out of business…whose fault would it be.

    The unions.

    What ever happened to the concept of freedom, in this country?

    Wrong product. Wrong time.

    Huh?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    If the union were to get a foothold in the pizza business. And the price of pizzas went up 50%, and many pizza places went out of business…whose fault would it be.

    The unions.

    What ever happened to the concept of freedom, in this country?

    Wrong product. Wrong time.

    Huh?

  • Grace

    I think it’s great – junk food doesn’t make anyone healthy, just fat, unable to think clearly, not to mention the risk of dangerous disease. Diabetes is a real health problem in the U.S. there are many more health problems when children and adults are over-weight.

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
    National Institutes of Health
    Department of Health and Human Services

    Check out your BMI below.

    Calculate Your Body Mass Index
    Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.

    http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

  • Grace

    I think it’s great – junk food doesn’t make anyone healthy, just fat, unable to think clearly, not to mention the risk of dangerous disease. Diabetes is a real health problem in the U.S. there are many more health problems when children and adults are over-weight.

    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
    National Institutes of Health
    Department of Health and Human Services

    Check out your BMI below.

    Calculate Your Body Mass Index
    Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.

    http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

  • DonS

    Obviously, Hostess’ heyday was long past. And clearly, times had been tough for Hostess employees for a long time. However, a union job, even at $25,000 a year, is better than no job at all. The sad thing is that a lot of the workers wanted to keep working at the lower pay, but were forced out of their jobs because of union leadership and a vote of the majority of their co-workers.

    When I was in college, in 1978-81, I worked as a summer vacation fill-in worker at a small textile factory, near the Fairless Hills, PA U.S. Steel Mill. This plant at one time was the engine of the local economy, employing some 8,000 high paid union workers in the mid 1970′s. However, by 1980, many of those workers had been laid off because of steel imports, the recession of the late 1970′s, and labor trouble when the company tried to modify the union contracts to compete, and some worked in our little factory. They were making about $5 per hour, instead of the $15 or so they had been making in the Fairless plant, with few benefits. There wasn’t a one who didn’t regret their union’s refusal to work with the company to save some of their jobs, and who didn’t realize afterward how good they had it at U.S. Steel. They were dead-enders now, and they knew it.

    We have destroyed much of our industrial base, the only source of good middle-class jobs, because of oppressive regulation, expensive energy, and labor greed. Many of these workers will never find a job as good as the one they had at Hostess, even after the 8% cut they were asked to take in this latest round.

  • DonS

    Obviously, Hostess’ heyday was long past. And clearly, times had been tough for Hostess employees for a long time. However, a union job, even at $25,000 a year, is better than no job at all. The sad thing is that a lot of the workers wanted to keep working at the lower pay, but were forced out of their jobs because of union leadership and a vote of the majority of their co-workers.

    When I was in college, in 1978-81, I worked as a summer vacation fill-in worker at a small textile factory, near the Fairless Hills, PA U.S. Steel Mill. This plant at one time was the engine of the local economy, employing some 8,000 high paid union workers in the mid 1970′s. However, by 1980, many of those workers had been laid off because of steel imports, the recession of the late 1970′s, and labor trouble when the company tried to modify the union contracts to compete, and some worked in our little factory. They were making about $5 per hour, instead of the $15 or so they had been making in the Fairless plant, with few benefits. There wasn’t a one who didn’t regret their union’s refusal to work with the company to save some of their jobs, and who didn’t realize afterward how good they had it at U.S. Steel. They were dead-enders now, and they knew it.

    We have destroyed much of our industrial base, the only source of good middle-class jobs, because of oppressive regulation, expensive energy, and labor greed. Many of these workers will never find a job as good as the one they had at Hostess, even after the 8% cut they were asked to take in this latest round.

  • Tom Hering

    What Hostess needs is a guy who knows how to save a business. I think there’s just such a guy out there, who isn’t doing anything else right now. And he, too, knows how to lay blame on your average “47%” American moocher/worker – so he would fit right in with current Hostess management. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    What Hostess needs is a guy who knows how to save a business. I think there’s just such a guy out there, who isn’t doing anything else right now. And he, too, knows how to lay blame on your average “47%” American moocher/worker – so he would fit right in with current Hostess management. ;-)

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall
  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall
  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall
  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall
  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk and Tom,

    I really don’t think this is an either/or question–not what you were suggesting it is. Sure, “there is little doubt” that Hostess was poorly managed, just like almost every other company that declares bankruptcy. But there is equally little doubt that the immediate cause of the Twinkie’s demise is union intransigence. Apparently, union leaders knew that a prolonged strike would destroy the company.

    And so it did. Look, both sides were playing a game of high-stakes chicken, and neither side budged, which means everyone lost.

    There are other factors too. Who eats Twinkie’s any more?

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk and Tom,

    I really don’t think this is an either/or question–not what you were suggesting it is. Sure, “there is little doubt” that Hostess was poorly managed, just like almost every other company that declares bankruptcy. But there is equally little doubt that the immediate cause of the Twinkie’s demise is union intransigence. Apparently, union leaders knew that a prolonged strike would destroy the company.

    And so it did. Look, both sides were playing a game of high-stakes chicken, and neither side budged, which means everyone lost.

    There are other factors too. Who eats Twinkie’s any more?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Who eats Twinkie’s any more?”

    Teenagers. They eat lots of junk.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “Who eats Twinkie’s any more?”

    Teenagers. They eat lots of junk.

  • Joe

    Those brands within the Hostess family that still have some market share will be back. The plants and jobs will likely move to Mexico to avoid the sugar tariffs we have in place in the US thereby realizing savings from lower labor and raw materials costs.

  • Joe

    Those brands within the Hostess family that still have some market share will be back. The plants and jobs will likely move to Mexico to avoid the sugar tariffs we have in place in the US thereby realizing savings from lower labor and raw materials costs.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Yes! And do away with ice cream, too! And meat!!! And alcohol! And fried foods (ban cooking oil!).

    There;s no end to the work of the do-gooders! Let’s hear it for the wonderful people who know better than we do!

    Freedom. Ha. Who needs it?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Yes! And do away with ice cream, too! And meat!!! And alcohol! And fried foods (ban cooking oil!).

    There;s no end to the work of the do-gooders! Let’s hear it for the wonderful people who know better than we do!

    Freedom. Ha. Who needs it?

  • Tom Hering

    Here’s an interesting article from twelve years ago, by the CEO of the corporation that owned the Hostess brand. He admits that sales had been in decline for two decades (throughout the 1980s and ’90s). He points to the mismanagement of the brand by his predecessors.

    http://www.bsu.edu/mcobwin/ajb/?p=283

    I guess his tenure was the last time Hostess was (briefly?) the #1 snack cake. Other, current business articles (found on the web) express amazement that the brand went into decline again during the 2000s – a decade when snacking actually increased.

  • Tom Hering

    Here’s an interesting article from twelve years ago, by the CEO of the corporation that owned the Hostess brand. He admits that sales had been in decline for two decades (throughout the 1980s and ’90s). He points to the mismanagement of the brand by his predecessors.

    http://www.bsu.edu/mcobwin/ajb/?p=283

    I guess his tenure was the last time Hostess was (briefly?) the #1 snack cake. Other, current business articles (found on the web) express amazement that the brand went into decline again during the 2000s – a decade when snacking actually increased.

  • larry

    “Yes! And do away with ice cream, too! And meat!!! And alcohol! And fried foods (ban cooking oil!).”

    That’s spot on Steve. It all stems from a false presupposition about “how and why death occurs”. It’s a form of idolatry. If its not due to sin and the fall of man, then its just a little hope, skip and a jump to statistical “causes” of death. But none of these are the “cause” of death, rather the means of it in any given case and that would include the “healthiest eating”, whatever that is, in the world.

    But its a nice intellectual pacifier to think if I don’t X or don’t Y I might extend my life or at least not die of Y related to X. Far more terrifying to think that a one God calls the shots and short of suicide your day already has its number on it and guess what, you don’t know when that is and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. That’s why when one sees “that guy over there die” and he was older or smoked or a tad over weight or the ole comforting chessnut, ‘what was his genetics, didn’t his dad die of that…one asks those things…to quell the terror of the real reality. However, when we see some healthy person with no tangible sinful thing that killed them, die suddenly, the picture of fitness and we cannot “tag” a stat to it, that’s when all the color drains from our faces because the reality is lurking behind it.

  • larry

    “Yes! And do away with ice cream, too! And meat!!! And alcohol! And fried foods (ban cooking oil!).”

    That’s spot on Steve. It all stems from a false presupposition about “how and why death occurs”. It’s a form of idolatry. If its not due to sin and the fall of man, then its just a little hope, skip and a jump to statistical “causes” of death. But none of these are the “cause” of death, rather the means of it in any given case and that would include the “healthiest eating”, whatever that is, in the world.

    But its a nice intellectual pacifier to think if I don’t X or don’t Y I might extend my life or at least not die of Y related to X. Far more terrifying to think that a one God calls the shots and short of suicide your day already has its number on it and guess what, you don’t know when that is and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. That’s why when one sees “that guy over there die” and he was older or smoked or a tad over weight or the ole comforting chessnut, ‘what was his genetics, didn’t his dad die of that…one asks those things…to quell the terror of the real reality. However, when we see some healthy person with no tangible sinful thing that killed them, die suddenly, the picture of fitness and we cannot “tag” a stat to it, that’s when all the color drains from our faces because the reality is lurking behind it.

  • Tom Hering

    larry, there is the cultural aspect, yes. A friend told me the other day that anti-smoking campaigns in Latin America are based on the argument that you’ll feel better if you quit, not that you’ll die early or terribly if you don’t quit. The attitude toward death in those countries is that it comes when it comes, and its coming can’t be stopped.

    I think they’re right. I found out for myself – first when I became a vegetarian, and then again when I tweaked my diet after a heart attack – that you feel better after you stop eating crap. Not to mention that good food tastes better than junk food – a fine pastry blows a Twinkie away.

  • Tom Hering

    larry, there is the cultural aspect, yes. A friend told me the other day that anti-smoking campaigns in Latin America are based on the argument that you’ll feel better if you quit, not that you’ll die early or terribly if you don’t quit. The attitude toward death in those countries is that it comes when it comes, and its coming can’t be stopped.

    I think they’re right. I found out for myself – first when I became a vegetarian, and then again when I tweaked my diet after a heart attack – that you feel better after you stop eating crap. Not to mention that good food tastes better than junk food – a fine pastry blows a Twinkie away.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom – I prefer that too. I don’t dislike these “treats” because they are bad for me – I dislike them because they taste like crap.

    Educating ones’ taste buds is a very effective weapon against eating crap. Or drinking it. For instance, I have discovered that Vodka can “taste” (actually feel, as in touch) great – provided it is properly made.

    These guys are doing it right, compared to the cleaning agents sold by the big distillers:

    http://www.luckybastard.ca/

    Their gin is also excellent.

    But I’m getting off-topic.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom – I prefer that too. I don’t dislike these “treats” because they are bad for me – I dislike them because they taste like crap.

    Educating ones’ taste buds is a very effective weapon against eating crap. Or drinking it. For instance, I have discovered that Vodka can “taste” (actually feel, as in touch) great – provided it is properly made.

    These guys are doing it right, compared to the cleaning agents sold by the big distillers:

    http://www.luckybastard.ca/

    Their gin is also excellent.

    But I’m getting off-topic.

  • Grace

    Tom @29 “you feel better after you stop eating crap. Not to mention that good food tastes better than junk food – a fine pastry blows a Twinkie away.”

    You’re right, good food tastes much better than food (if you can call it that) which is treated with who knows what, with a shelf life into the next decade.

  • Grace

    Tom @29 “you feel better after you stop eating crap. Not to mention that good food tastes better than junk food – a fine pastry blows a Twinkie away.”

    You’re right, good food tastes much better than food (if you can call it that) which is treated with who knows what, with a shelf life into the next decade.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Have we come this far (backwards)?

    Does freedom mean nothing now?

    Do we have to get on our high horses and tell people how to live, what to eat, and when to eat it?

    Un-be-lieveable.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Have we come this far (backwards)?

    Does freedom mean nothing now?

    Do we have to get on our high horses and tell people how to live, what to eat, and when to eat it?

    Un-be-lieveable.

  • Tom Hering

    Oh come on Steve. Enough already. Tastes have changed. Hostess has been mismanaged for three decades. The long decline and fall of the brand and its products is as simple as those two facts.

  • Tom Hering

    Oh come on Steve. Enough already. Tastes have changed. Hostess has been mismanaged for three decades. The long decline and fall of the brand and its products is as simple as those two facts.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    > The long decline and fall of the brand and its products …

    Kinda like GM and Chrysler?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    > The long decline and fall of the brand and its products …

    Kinda like GM and Chrysler?

  • Joe

    A general theme I see with mismanaged companies is the failure to take any real steps to reign in labor costs, both active costs and legacy costs. Both management and unions are to blame for this. Unions for the obvious reason, they often ask for things that they ought to understand the company can’t afford. Management because they often put up a small fight and then agree to give the union more than the company can afford. They only seem to take their labor costs seriously when it is either too late or at a point where the necessary changes will seem drastic to the employees.

    Good management needs to be thinking about the effect of a current CBA on the company 30 years from now. Unfortunately, many CEO’s are only around long enough to have a cup of coffee and are more concerned with short term labor peace than the long term effects. After all the current company is just a stepping stone to something bigger.

    Personally, I find it odd that unions have not figured out how to play this yet. Given the rate of CEO turn over, the employees are the only players with their long term futures tied to the company’s. I would expect that they would start becoming more concerned with managing the company’s long term financial well being so the company can keep providing jobs.

  • Joe

    A general theme I see with mismanaged companies is the failure to take any real steps to reign in labor costs, both active costs and legacy costs. Both management and unions are to blame for this. Unions for the obvious reason, they often ask for things that they ought to understand the company can’t afford. Management because they often put up a small fight and then agree to give the union more than the company can afford. They only seem to take their labor costs seriously when it is either too late or at a point where the necessary changes will seem drastic to the employees.

    Good management needs to be thinking about the effect of a current CBA on the company 30 years from now. Unfortunately, many CEO’s are only around long enough to have a cup of coffee and are more concerned with short term labor peace than the long term effects. After all the current company is just a stepping stone to something bigger.

    Personally, I find it odd that unions have not figured out how to play this yet. Given the rate of CEO turn over, the employees are the only players with their long term futures tied to the company’s. I would expect that they would start becoming more concerned with managing the company’s long term financial well being so the company can keep providing jobs.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, did you read the blog post Kirk linked to @ 3? The union employees at Hostess accepted substantial pay cuts to help keep the company afloat.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, did you read the blog post Kirk linked to @ 3? The union employees at Hostess accepted substantial pay cuts to help keep the company afloat.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Tom,

    It’s not about “tastes have changed”. If there are 4 people who want to eat roasted sugar globs on a stick and a company that will sell them to them, then so be it.

    This whole thing about people deciding for others what they should want to eat, or what they can eat, just blows my mind!

    Here’s another do-gooder trying to tell people what not to eat on Thanksgiving:

    http://www.france24.com/en/20121119-mccartney-says-skip-turkey-thanksgiving

    I swear, I feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode…only it’s real.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Tom,

    It’s not about “tastes have changed”. If there are 4 people who want to eat roasted sugar globs on a stick and a company that will sell them to them, then so be it.

    This whole thing about people deciding for others what they should want to eat, or what they can eat, just blows my mind!

    Here’s another do-gooder trying to tell people what not to eat on Thanksgiving:

    http://www.france24.com/en/20121119-mccartney-says-skip-turkey-thanksgiving

    I swear, I feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode…only it’s real.

  • Tom Hering

    Steve, who’s deciding for you? You’re not a kid at your parents’ dinner table anymore, nor a kid in the school lunchroom. So who’s stopping you from eating whatever you want?

    But you have a problem with Paul McCartney expressing his point of view. That’s funny, because I thought a free society was a place where people are free to try and persuade each other. And really, he’s quite the pussycat about it. If I had his bully pulpit, I’d tell you Thanksgiving is a day for the mass slaughter (increased mass slaughter) of cruelly-raised animals, as well as a day to give thanks to God by practicing the sin of gluttony. Go figure. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Steve, who’s deciding for you? You’re not a kid at your parents’ dinner table anymore, nor a kid in the school lunchroom. So who’s stopping you from eating whatever you want?

    But you have a problem with Paul McCartney expressing his point of view. That’s funny, because I thought a free society was a place where people are free to try and persuade each other. And really, he’s quite the pussycat about it. If I had his bully pulpit, I’d tell you Thanksgiving is a day for the mass slaughter (increased mass slaughter) of cruelly-raised animals, as well as a day to give thanks to God by practicing the sin of gluttony. Go figure. ;-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    So Steve (@37), by expressing your opinion here, you’re taking away my freedom to think for myself. Right? That’s how the logic goes, right? Stop oppressing me, Steve!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    So Steve (@37), by expressing your opinion here, you’re taking away my freedom to think for myself. Right? That’s how the logic goes, right? Stop oppressing me, Steve!

  • Momof3intenn

    Dr. Veith – You are the first I have heard to decry the end of the Hostess Cupcake. It is a tragedy that people think Twinkies taste better than the cupcakes.

    SKPeterson @ 4 – You had me hooked at University of Tennessee. Dooley seems like a fine man…and a poor coach. Who are we going to get now?

  • Momof3intenn

    Dr. Veith – You are the first I have heard to decry the end of the Hostess Cupcake. It is a tragedy that people think Twinkies taste better than the cupcakes.

    SKPeterson @ 4 – You had me hooked at University of Tennessee. Dooley seems like a fine man…and a poor coach. Who are we going to get now?

  • kerner

    Joe @35:

    There is one other group that has a long term interest in the company doing well: The shareholders. I have suggested before that shareholders (who can also be, and frequently are, also employees) should have more control over the CEO than they do under existing law. It is a problem to me that the supposedly fiduciary duty that corporate directors owe to the shareholders is taken so lightly. If corporate directors and or management could be sued by shareholders who get stiffed when something like this happens (thus recouping the big bonuses that CEOs take just before the company crashes and burns), it would happen less often.

  • kerner

    Joe @35:

    There is one other group that has a long term interest in the company doing well: The shareholders. I have suggested before that shareholders (who can also be, and frequently are, also employees) should have more control over the CEO than they do under existing law. It is a problem to me that the supposedly fiduciary duty that corporate directors owe to the shareholders is taken so lightly. If corporate directors and or management could be sued by shareholders who get stiffed when something like this happens (thus recouping the big bonuses that CEOs take just before the company crashes and burns), it would happen less often.

  • Larry

    Tom, no Steve is right. It’s not about “feeling better” if I eat a grass sandwich versus a hamburger. I exercise a LOT to keep in great shape myself, and I am. But I don’t need 10 gurus, or ‘fat shows’, or doctors pretending to be gods, and fifty thousand articles by blow hards (who are themselves typically out of shape) to tell me what is basically common sense (even a dog knows when to push away from the dinner bowl), a body was meant to move. And I didn’t discover that “suddenly” from some secular pietist micro-scoping my life style

  • Larry

    Tom, no Steve is right. It’s not about “feeling better” if I eat a grass sandwich versus a hamburger. I exercise a LOT to keep in great shape myself, and I am. But I don’t need 10 gurus, or ‘fat shows’, or doctors pretending to be gods, and fifty thousand articles by blow hards (who are themselves typically out of shape) to tell me what is basically common sense (even a dog knows when to push away from the dinner bowl), a body was meant to move. And I didn’t discover that “suddenly” from some secular pietist micro-scoping my life style

  • Larry

    For the record though, I really don’t care about the Hostess products. I really can’t stand their taste the few times I’ve assaulted my palate with them to try them. That’s a quality issue, like good wine or beer versus, well, American beer.

  • Larry

    For the record though, I really don’t care about the Hostess products. I really can’t stand their taste the few times I’ve assaulted my palate with them to try them. That’s a quality issue, like good wine or beer versus, well, American beer.

  • Larry

    Tom,

    All Steve was doing was expressing his point of view too and if it counters PM, then that’s just as valid.

    Else we can take this invalid line of argumentation you are using, “…you have a problem with Paul McCartney expressing his point of view…”, to ad infinitum and equally say in your reply using your reply, “you have a problem with Steve expressing his views on Paul McCartney expressing his point of view…etc.”

  • Larry

    Tom,

    All Steve was doing was expressing his point of view too and if it counters PM, then that’s just as valid.

    Else we can take this invalid line of argumentation you are using, “…you have a problem with Paul McCartney expressing his point of view…”, to ad infinitum and equally say in your reply using your reply, “you have a problem with Steve expressing his views on Paul McCartney expressing his point of view…etc.”

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    We’re talking about people’s right to have a company that sells junk food and the people’s right to purchase it.

    Many here have opined that it was “good” that a company went OUT OF BUSINESS because they didn’t like their product, even though millions of other people did like their product.

    I still think I’m in that Twilight Zone episode that grown adults cannot figure out these themes of freedom here.

    If a guy never exercises and eats only cupcakes and grows obese and dies…that is his right.

    If people WANT to eat Horsefly sandwiches and other people will provide them…so be it.

    “OH NO…we can’t have that!!! That’s not good for people!”

    There is a part of me that hopes that the do-gooders gain complete control of everything and take away some of the things that many of the do-gooders here like to do, and eat. It would serve you right.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    We’re talking about people’s right to have a company that sells junk food and the people’s right to purchase it.

    Many here have opined that it was “good” that a company went OUT OF BUSINESS because they didn’t like their product, even though millions of other people did like their product.

    I still think I’m in that Twilight Zone episode that grown adults cannot figure out these themes of freedom here.

    If a guy never exercises and eats only cupcakes and grows obese and dies…that is his right.

    If people WANT to eat Horsefly sandwiches and other people will provide them…so be it.

    “OH NO…we can’t have that!!! That’s not good for people!”

    There is a part of me that hopes that the do-gooders gain complete control of everything and take away some of the things that many of the do-gooders here like to do, and eat. It would serve you right.

  • helen

    If corporate directors and or management could be sued by shareholders who get stiffed when something like this happens (thus recouping the big bonuses that CEOs take just before the company crashes and burns), it would happen less often.

    If corporate directors were more often taken from among the people who have an interest in the company, (vs other corporation big wigs whose primary interest is increasing the share of profits benefitting the top layer) we might see a different salary structure which primarily benefitted those who stayed, did the work and wanted to see the corporation succeed.

    That said, I haven’t made a habit of Hostess cupcakes in a long while because they have changed (or I have). That good looking chocolate doesn’t taste like chocolate. I suspect there is less cocoa (expensive) and more food coloring in the batch; less cocoa butter (if there ever was any) and more vegetable oil. The “frosting” feels plastic on the tongue and tastes like nothing at all. Now and then I remember what I thought they tasted like, and when nostalgia overtakes me to the point of purchasing, I am freshly disappointed.
    But most purchased cakes taste about the same. [Box mixes are still a bit better.]
    Nobody makes chocolate cake like Mom did!
    Dark with cocoa; filled between three layers with a date/nut/raisin ‘pudding’ mixture; topped with homemade fudge frosting…. a birthday cake I haven’t had since I was 12.

  • helen

    If corporate directors and or management could be sued by shareholders who get stiffed when something like this happens (thus recouping the big bonuses that CEOs take just before the company crashes and burns), it would happen less often.

    If corporate directors were more often taken from among the people who have an interest in the company, (vs other corporation big wigs whose primary interest is increasing the share of profits benefitting the top layer) we might see a different salary structure which primarily benefitted those who stayed, did the work and wanted to see the corporation succeed.

    That said, I haven’t made a habit of Hostess cupcakes in a long while because they have changed (or I have). That good looking chocolate doesn’t taste like chocolate. I suspect there is less cocoa (expensive) and more food coloring in the batch; less cocoa butter (if there ever was any) and more vegetable oil. The “frosting” feels plastic on the tongue and tastes like nothing at all. Now and then I remember what I thought they tasted like, and when nostalgia overtakes me to the point of purchasing, I am freshly disappointed.
    But most purchased cakes taste about the same. [Box mixes are still a bit better.]
    Nobody makes chocolate cake like Mom did!
    Dark with cocoa; filled between three layers with a date/nut/raisin ‘pudding’ mixture; topped with homemade fudge frosting…. a birthday cake I haven’t had since I was 12.

  • kerner

    Steve Martin:
    “We’re talking about people’s right to have a company that sells junk food and the people’s right to purchase it.”

    We are? I thought we were talking about this particular company and whether it was the company’s out of control unions or greedy incompetent management that drove it into the ground.

    As for whether anyone will continue to sell this unhealthy drek, Carl Vehse @8 is correct. Eventually, somebody else will.

  • kerner

    Steve Martin:
    “We’re talking about people’s right to have a company that sells junk food and the people’s right to purchase it.”

    We are? I thought we were talking about this particular company and whether it was the company’s out of control unions or greedy incompetent management that drove it into the ground.

    As for whether anyone will continue to sell this unhealthy drek, Carl Vehse @8 is correct. Eventually, somebody else will.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I thought we were talking about this particular company and whether it was the company’s out of control unions or greedy incompetent management that drove it into the ground.”

    Probably more greedy than incompetent. Also, ingredient costs went up as did transportation costs. So, what formerly could go to good wages had to be sacrificed for profits. I doubt management suffered at all. Hence, greedy but not necessarily incompetent.

    Also, don’t use “incompetent” as it is a racial code word. (LOL)

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/268825-clyburn-gop-letter-criticizing-rice-uses-racial-code-words-

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I thought we were talking about this particular company and whether it was the company’s out of control unions or greedy incompetent management that drove it into the ground.”

    Probably more greedy than incompetent. Also, ingredient costs went up as did transportation costs. So, what formerly could go to good wages had to be sacrificed for profits. I doubt management suffered at all. Hence, greedy but not necessarily incompetent.

    Also, don’t use “incompetent” as it is a racial code word. (LOL)

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/268825-clyburn-gop-letter-criticizing-rice-uses-racial-code-words-

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@45), you seem unable to distinguish between people expressing their opinions about (in this case) junk food, and people demanding or enacting legislation so as to ban junk food.

    Just to help you out, Paul McCartney’s statement falls into the former category.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@45), you seem unable to distinguish between people expressing their opinions about (in this case) junk food, and people demanding or enacting legislation so as to ban junk food.

    Just to help you out, Paul McCartney’s statement falls into the former category.

  • Rick Ritchie

    I found a video this morning of some English girls trying out American snacks. When they got to the Hostess cupcakes, one girl gave it a high rating, saying she loved it, only to bump it down a notch when she hit the cream filling. Funny to watch:

  • Rick Ritchie

    I found a video this morning of some English girls trying out American snacks. When they got to the Hostess cupcakes, one girl gave it a high rating, saying she loved it, only to bump it down a notch when she hit the cream filling. Funny to watch:

  • http://ofwardsandwyrms.com Colin Cutler

    I’m afraid here’s one person who won’t miss them. I was permanently scarred by a Communion experience involving a Methodist church, grape juice, and Wonderbread…

  • http://ofwardsandwyrms.com Colin Cutler

    I’m afraid here’s one person who won’t miss them. I was permanently scarred by a Communion experience involving a Methodist church, grape juice, and Wonderbread…

  • Michael B.

    @Steve Martin

    “I still think I’m in that Twilight Zone episode that grown adults cannot figure out these themes of freedom here. If a guy never exercises and eats only cupcakes and grows obese and dies…that is his right. If people WANT to eat Horsefly sandwiches and other people will provide them…so be it.”

    Just playing Devil’s Advocate here….If what you say is true, why can’t I go out and sell crack?

  • Michael B.

    @Steve Martin

    “I still think I’m in that Twilight Zone episode that grown adults cannot figure out these themes of freedom here. If a guy never exercises and eats only cupcakes and grows obese and dies…that is his right. If people WANT to eat Horsefly sandwiches and other people will provide them…so be it.”

    Just playing Devil’s Advocate here….If what you say is true, why can’t I go out and sell crack?

  • Larry

    Just to play pragmatic devil’s advocate: You “can” sell crack, its simply against the law. We “could” pass “fat laws” and some states have begun forms of that. However, the government will find (and this is its limitation) it cannot enforce it due to shear volume. Go talk to somebody working in OSHA, OSHA violations occur every second repeatedly. What they will tell you is they simply do not have the funding nor man power to enforce.

    So “fat laws” and “secular exercise pietism” simply will fail under the shear weight of itself.

    We already saw how this failed under the miserably failed pietistic experiment of prohibition.

    Just give things time and they always fail at length…you have to have patience on these things and yawn at them. Things like these are mostly mountains out of mole hills.

  • Larry

    Just to play pragmatic devil’s advocate: You “can” sell crack, its simply against the law. We “could” pass “fat laws” and some states have begun forms of that. However, the government will find (and this is its limitation) it cannot enforce it due to shear volume. Go talk to somebody working in OSHA, OSHA violations occur every second repeatedly. What they will tell you is they simply do not have the funding nor man power to enforce.

    So “fat laws” and “secular exercise pietism” simply will fail under the shear weight of itself.

    We already saw how this failed under the miserably failed pietistic experiment of prohibition.

    Just give things time and they always fail at length…you have to have patience on these things and yawn at them. Things like these are mostly mountains out of mole hills.


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