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in spite of Hostess" Twinkies iconic condition in pop culture and lunch boxes, the beloved brand left shelves in 2012 and nearly died for good. business Insider recounts the rise, fall, and also rise again of Twinkies. Following is a transcript that the video.

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Narrator: A mainstay in pop society and lunchboxes for an ext than 80 years...

- Twinkie.

- Twinkie.

- Twinkie.

- That"s a huge Twinkie.

Narrator: The Twinkie is one American icon. The vanilla cake stuffed with cream even made it right into the national Millennium Time Capsule.

Alex Bitter: once you think around kind of the pantheon the food brands, there aren"t a ton that type of rise to the level that Twinkies.

Narrator: however two bankruptcies, hefty debt loads, and changing tastes pushed Twinkies turn off shelves and virtually to their death.

Andy Jhawar: people were beginning to market boxes the Twinkies on eBay for $1,000 a pop. Ns mean, just crazy stuff, right? that was favor the death of a piece of Americana.

Narrator: however just as soon as everyone assumed that they were gone because that good, Twinkies rose again. So, what happened?

Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois, in 1930. This guy, James Dewar, managed a bakery tree at the begin of the Depression . He want to make far better use of expensive strawberry shortcake equipment sitting unused when strawberries weren"t in season. So he stuck banana cream in a shortcake. Dewar offered the Twinkies in packs of two for 5 cents. As soon as bananas were rationed during civilization War II, the straightforward vanilla cream we recognize today came to be the filling.

In the following two decades, Twinkies and also its parent brand, Hostess, conquered the packaged-cake market. Marketed to youngsters in whatever from TV commercials to Batman comics, Twinkies climbed to the standing of a social icon.

Buffalo Bob: You"re acquiring ready because that school. Here. Here"s a puffy dessert the you deserve to take along with you. A package of two huge Hostess Twinkies.

Narrator: The Hostess snack cemented itself in kids" lunchboxes throughout America.

Jhawar: It was affordable indulgence for families. That was just so woven right into the fabric of the culture of America.

Narrator: In 1971, the brand introduced its mascot, Twinkie the Kid.

Wizard: It"s Twinkie the Kid!

Twinkie the Kid: Yahoo!

Narrator: The anthropomorphic cowboy Twinkie became popular amongst kids because that sharing his namesake cakes. However growing talk of Twinkies" high sugar content would shortly butt heads through the brand"s kid-friendly marketing.

First, the Federal trade Commission came down on Hostess because that false nutritional claims. The company concluded the sugar was the main ingredient in Twinkies. And also then, in "79, the attempt of a mountain Francisco guy charged with murdering the mayor offered rise come the term "Twinkie defense." The defense team argued he had actually "diminished capacity" thanks to his addiction to Twinkies, and also the murder charges were minimized to manslaughter.It was a trial the balked in ~ the healthy cake brand Hostess to be trying to build.

Ad: Fresh, wholesome Hostess meets my hard standards. So when I speak yes, it"s Hostess.

Narrator: Then started a cable of brand-new owners because that Hostess. In the "70s, telephone firm ITT ran Twinkies" parental company. In the "80s, dog-food an equipment Purina obtained Hostess. And a decade later, it landed under its final owner, federal government Bakeries Corporation.

The sale developed the largest baking company in the US, with, at its peak, 58 factories, over 10,000 shipment routes, a an increase in Twinkies sales, and also $3.2 billion in complete sales. However in the so late "90s, America"s an altering tastes would quickly spell trouble for the sugar-packed Twinkies.

With the farming popularity of low-carb, Atkins, and later the south Beach diets, part Americans were becoming an ext health-conscious. Loaded through calories, sugar, and also preservatives most people hadn"t heard of, permit alone could pronounce, Twinkies became a accident of the health and wellness revolution. Sales fell, and also then flattened.

In October that "98, since of missed earnings, share dropped 25% in just one day. However it wasn"t just the product the was the problem. Pensions and raw goods obtained too costly. As other food carriers were modernizing manufacturing, Hostess ran inefficient factories, operating at 54% capacity utilization.

Jhawar: That"s an extremely poor in the manufacturing world.

Narrator: The company also relied ~ above a tired delivery system.

Jhawar: A DSD model, direct-store-delivery model, has actually really high costs due to the fact that you"ve got trucks, drivers, gas, insurance that you have to pay for. And also you"re going come every store in America every couple of days come drop turn off product.

Narrator: delivery alone ate up 36% of revenue.

Hillary Clinton: crucial way to catch this moment in time would certainly be by filling a national time capsule.

Narrator: In 1999, President invoice Clinton consisted of a Twinkie in the nationwide Millennium Time Capsule. For this reason Twinkies still had a substantial fan base, yet by then, the damages to Hostess" bottom line had actually been done. By 2004, through $700 billion in debt, Twinkies" parental company, Interstate, filed because that Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Over the next 5 years, Interstate reduced 7,000 employees and also shut down eight factories. The agency came the end of bankruptcy in 2009 and rebranded chin Hostess Brands, but it didn"t work.

Jhawar: But, unfortunately, countless of the legacy difficulties that yes, really hampered the firm didn"t acquire solved through that bankruptcy.

Narrator: climate the recession took a substantial hit top top Hostess" bottom line, v year-over-year sales under 20%. To make matters worse, a worker strike and labor conflict soon followed.

Jhawar: the fight turned right into production stopping, and also the administration team then endangered to closeup of the door the company down, provided pressure indigenous its creditors. And also that"s exactly what happened.

Narrator: through January 2012, with nearly a billion dollars in debt, Hostess brands filed because that Chapter 11 bankruptcy again.

Broadcaster: The agency that renders Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and Ding Dongs announced this morning that it is going out of business.

Narrator: In November, Twinkies to be pulled from shelves, and headlines across the nation reported the fatality of Twinkies.

Jhawar: Customers started honestly losing their minds end it.

Bitter: human being who would have actually never cared about Twinkies, in fact, suddenly wanted them. Or thought, "Oh, mine God, well, if they"re going far forever, I should stock up.

Broadcaster: The rush was on come grab the last of those tasty treats.

Broadcaster: civilization scrambled to acquire the last Twinkies turn off those keep shelves.

Jhawar: the was prefer the fatality of a piece of Americana.

Narrator: In December 2012, Hostess began laying off all its employees. Things were looking poor for Hostess, yet this male still saw value in the nostalgia attached to the brand.

Jhawar: There to be a real brand here, and also it"s difficult to death a an excellent brand.

Narrator: Andy is fifty percent of the duo credited with saving the Twinkies.

Jhawar: If friend polled people age 20 and also over, there"s 95% brand awareness. I mean, it"s unbelievable. It"s no every day that you can buy a brand favor this, that"s common in consumers" mind and has leading market share, had actually a billion dollars in revenues, and an 80-year legacy.

Narrator: after the second bankruptcy, Andy approached legendary investor Dean Metropoulos about joining him in rescuing Hostess. Dean had turned around...

Jhawar: Bumble punishment tuna, cook Boyardee, Vlasic pickles, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Dean"s call historically really fit well for this.

Narrator: however unlike the first Hostess bankruptcy, in 2012 there to be no coming out of it with a simple restructure.

Jhawar: the bankruptcy process was unique since it turned into a true liquidation and also what"s well-known as a 363 asset revenue process.

Narrator: Basically, what to be left that Hostess was marketed for parts. Instead of having to inherit that expensive distribution system, underfunded pension plans, and old union contracts, Andy might cherry-pick what he and Dean actually wanted and forget the rest. So the two proved up come the 363 asset sale prepared to fight for Hostess.

Jhawar: no one buyer confirmed up various other than us. Everyone could"ve showed up and topped our bid, and nobody proved up. It to be frankly an extremely surprising to me.

Narrator: Andy and also Dean purchased Hostess because that $410 million. The end of the sale, they acquired the Hostess brands including Twinkie, recipes, and also five factories.

Jhawar: That"s it. There was no employees, there to be no ingredients, there was no inventory. And I have to tell you, it was really odd throughout diligence, walking through plants where, when you go in, they"re empty and the person who"s go me v the plant needs to turn top top the lights.

Narrator: And, quickly, Andy and also Dean gained to work fixing the company. First, they tackled that delivery system.

Jhawar: The old agency did direct store delivery. We were gonna transform it right into a distribution-to-warehouse model. Instead of going straight to every grocery save in America, you then go to Walmart"s distribution centers or Kroger"s distribution centers instead, and then they delivery it out to their various stores.

Narrator: yet in stimulate to relocate Twinkies v a warehouse, they an initial had to rise the shelf life. Historically, Twinkies only lasted 25 days.

Jhawar: civilization would placed Twinkies in their earthquake shelters since everybody had actually this perception that Twinkies would certainly last forever. That really, it wasn"t the case.

Narrator: Andy and also Dean invested millions to develop a Twinkie the tasted the same, yet lasted longer.

Jhawar: us were at an initial able to get the shelf life come 45 days, and also then ultimately to 65 job of shelf life. And also so that really helped get the retailers comfortable the they could take it into their warehouses and also that the product quality would no be compromised.

Narrator: The brand-new recipe and warehouse-delivery version helped cut delivery expenses by 20%. It also meant Hostess can affordably deliver Twinkies come drugstores and also dollar stores, sectors they"d never reached before.

Jhawar: dissension General came to be one of our top 5 customers.

Narrator: next up, Andy turn to manufacturing facility efficiency. Andy and Dean want to have the ability to make $1 billion precious of cake yearly, yet with a nine of the labor and a fifth of the factories.

Jhawar: We finished up doing, gaining to 85% capacity utilization plus.

Narrator: Finally, the duo functioned on innovating the product line with smaller pack sizes and also mini Twinkies.

Jhawar: Those commodities really didn"t acquire the resonance in the marketplace. And also so then we simply jumped wholeheartedly into adopt the brand, adopt what friend are, which is indulgence.

Narrator: The team had to make all these transforms in a issue of months. In July 2013, the when dead Twinkies returned to shelves to lots of fanfare.

Broadcaster: The civilization is a far better place tonight since Twinkies room back.

Jhawar: The tagline was, "The sweet Comeback in the history of Ever." It every went viral. It to be really type of unbelievable. A many that, frankly, that excitement and buzz, ironically could"ve never ever come about if Twinkies never ever came turn off the shelf.

Bitter: The trite speak is, what? "You don"t understand what you"ve got until it"s gone."

Narrator: Twinkies conveniently sold out in stores throughout America.

Jhawar: during our an initial year, we had actually $555 million in revenues, from nothing, v profit spare part of 27% in a firm that lost money and had to walk bankrupt twice.

Narrator: by 2015, Hostess was making 1 million Twinkies a day, 400 million a year, and $180 million in profit. At the time, Twinkies consisted of 80% that the company"s product output, and also the success just kept rising. In 2016, Apollo and also Metropoulos take it Hostess public. The IPO valued the company at $2.3 billion, nearly five time what Andy and Dean had actually paid because that it. Apollo and also Metropoulos" gamble, that Americans still loved Twinkies, had paid off. However was the lovely snack revived for good?

Jhawar: The share price has been fairly flat come a small down, but overall the health of the agency is an extremely strong.

Narrator: The coronavirus pandemic has actually helped Hostess.

Bitter: That"s due to the fact that a the majority of Americans room buying more food, especially much more processed foods. But the key question going front is, to what degree will the continue? carry out they continue eating Twinkies?

Narrator: Alex says adding much more limited-time-offer flavorings like peppermint and s"mores Twinkies might help. Or diversifying into new product lines, prefer Twinkies cereal.

Bitter: Twinkie"s a huge brand, yet at the end of the day, Hostess more than likely realizes that they should diversify.

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Narrator: and also while diversifying definitely might be part of it, Hostess" biggest success has actually come native leaning into Twinkies" nostalgia.