KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There was a time not too long ago that Twinkies disappeared from store shelves, following two bankruptcies and an acquisition. When the golden sponge cake reappeared, Americans had become more fixated on healthy eating, Bloomberg reports.
Millennials have been gobbling Twinkies as some kind of food nostalgia. “For as much as millennials bring us challenges, they also have a belief that you only live once and you should enjoy yourself,” said Bill Toler, CEO of Hostess. “They believe in a license to indulge.”
With indulgence as a top food trend—right beside nutrition—Twinkies fill a need. “Unhealthy products remain popular,” said Krishnakumar Davey, president of strategic analytics at IRI. “The popularity of nutritious snacks is surging, but so are sales of ice cream [and] salty snacks.”
Around 70% of Hostess sales happen in Walmart, dollar stores and convenience stores, places that aren’t shopped by health-conscious millennials. “Those customers aren’t as sensitive,” Toler said.
Hostess has taken the healthy eating trend seriously, removing transfat from products and developing whole-grain muffins. But it is staying true to its roots with such products as frozen Deep Fried Twinkies and Twinkies ice cream.