It’s been a sad month for Twinkies fans. As beleaguered parent company Hostess takes its final steps toward filing bankruptcy, liquidating its assets and shutting down for good, sweet-toothed Americans are now asking an unthinkable question — what will replace their beloved Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s, Devil Dogs and snack cake Twinkie?
Yet more than that, the more financially-minded dessert enthusiast may be wondering what will become of the remaining Twinkies on store shelves. Just what’s an average pack of Hostess Twinkies going for these days? Will they go up in value?
For years, antiques and rare collectibles have become prime financial investments that can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. Some of the biggest million-dollar savings accounts are on account of collecting novelty items that became valuable over the years.
So what does that say about the spongy, cream-filled treats? Will unopened Twinkies become big-ticket collectors’ items in years to come, or will the defunct desserts be quickly forgotten?
Hostess Bankruptcy Background
This isn’t the first time Irving, Texas-based Hostess has faced going obsolete. Eight years ago, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, depleting hundreds of bakery outlets and thousands of employees. A harbinger of financial things to come, with Hostess bankrupt yet again in 2012, receiving approval last week from a bankruptcy judge to liquidate its holdings, the 82-year-old company now looks for buyers of its many brand names (in addition to Twinkies, other Hostess brands include Wonder Bread and Dolly Madison).
According to Bloomberg News, sales of Hostess products could net the confectioner’s handlers over $1 billion if the going-out-of-business endeavor is successful. For employees and supporters of Hostess, it’s not quite the success one would have in mind; in a press release on its website, Hostess Brands reports that company shut-down “means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes, 570 bakery outlet stores and the loss of 18,500 jobs.”
During the first 16 weeks of the estimated one-year closing, Hostess’ employee headcount, according to the company, is expected to decrease a full 94 percent — just 3,200 workers will remain on board in the beginning bankruptcy stages.
These numbers look dire, except for fans of Hostess products, who’ve been snatching up Twinkies by the thousands in the past few weeks, reselling them for a pretty penny.
A Host of Hostess Valuables
Until then, Twinkie lovers aren’t taking any chances and have gone on a wallet-draining quest to scoop up as many packages as possible of the tubular snack food.
U.S. News & World Report calls it a case of taking supply and demand “a little too far.” According to the publication, Twinkies have been popping up on online auction house eBay.com for anywhere from $10,000 for a box of 10 (one grand for a single treat), to $5,000 per single Twinkie.
The Huffington Post and Chicago Sun-Times have also reported that convenience stores across the country are in short supply of Twinkies, as customers have raided shelves in a last-ditch effort in snack stockpiling.
Savings and Shelf Lives
Like anything antique, collecting is a game of chance and patience: It takes years, sometimes decades, to see if it’s been worth the investment. Comic books, baseball cards and obscure paintings are popular collectibles, but then, so are obsolete items like 8-track tapes and cans of New Coke. Which camp will Twinkies fall into?
Many people who snatched up dozens or hundreds of Twinkies this week may wonder how long an unopened package of Twinkies will last in the hopes of keeping it in the attic for another 10 to 20 years.
According to nutritional information, one Twinkie is 42 percent sugar, and contains such odd ingredients like polysorbate 60, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium acid pyrophosphate and its beef fat(!)-soaked shell, among others, indicating that there may be no such thing as expiration for a typical Twinkie, and that Twinkies could very well last forever.
It still remains to be seen, however, if a 25-year-old Twinkie is indeed edible.
A World Without Twinkies?
Yet with little to no nutritional benefit to its form, Twinkies are junk food to some, a piece of Americana to others, which means that its overall value could stay high whether the Twinkie goes extinct, or continues on with another corporation. Marketing blog brandStoke says that a new buyer will undoubtedly want the secret Twinkie recipe, but more than that, they’ll want the brand.
Could it mean a new-and-improved Twinkie for the 21st century will raise the value of those classic Twinkies saved up in the back of one’s fridge? How is that value determined?
brandSTOKE says that there are a number of different methods to value Twinkies, or any other item. While there’s no set way of determining valuation, if a new company buys the Twinkie brand, it may check how much money Hostess spent on its past marketing efforts, and how much future revenue that could generate. That, in turn, could bolster interest and overall value in vintage versions of the Twinkie.
So while it’s still too early to tell if Twinkies will continue on in the bellies of consumers worldwide, it’ll always carry on in the hearts of collectors, no matter what the dollar sign value.
With a slew of recent homemade Twinkie how-to’s popping up on YouTube, the Twinkie will be here to stay in some form or another. Plus, there’s no reason to worry if those 50 boxes of Twinkies in the garage are as worthless as Pokemon cards or Beanie Babies — sentimental value will always be priceless.