A Cheerless Rejoice

By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.

The 1950’s placed me smack in the middle of the pastry snack frenzy.  Everyone I knew then tried a Hostess product to see if they were as good as others would claim them to be.  Well, after countless pounds of fat and unthinkable amounts of processed sugar the largest wholesale maker and distributor of bakery products, the Hostess Brands recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  This includes a long line of their companies including Wonder Bread, Nature’s Pride, Dolly Madison, Marie Callender’s, Roman Meal, Butternut Breads, and Drake’s brands.

Surely none of their subsidiaries will take a big hit, but the main point with highlighting this bankruptcy is that there is an obvious shift in the eating habits of Americans.  The idea of ever eating one of these nothing treats should have never become a practice growing up, but it was the hot fad in my elementary school days.  The Ho Ho came a little after my primary days, but there were the famous CupCakes, Suzy Q’s, Hostess Donettes, Mini Muffins and Fruit Pies, Sno Balls, Zingers, Ding Dongs, and those irresistible Twinkies.

The times are a changing, because with the over saturated snack food market, the new fad is to avoid eating those Twinkies and that Wonder (that is not really) Bread.  Hostess employs roughly 19,000 people and this is their second bankruptcy filing after it suspended payments for union pensions and was struggling to remain current on its’ $700 million loan and is carrying more than $860 million total debt.

Knowing that folks will potentially lose their job is no welcomed occurrence, as I know it is hard finding one, less alone keeping one. (Side note: www.JobObama.com) Back in the day, I remember seeing a sugary-filled Hostess pastry just about everywhere, but the message is clear and eating habits are evolving for the better.  Hence, Hostess over stayed their welcome and should have pulled back on their processed sugar packages a long time ago.  These aforementioned products have zero nutritional value and were marketed for a time as something to eat for boosting energy.

By and large I feel like having been a victim to these sleazy snack items, especially when you hear things like the Twinkie was once said to have an unlimited shelf life.  Even though it is not true as they do decompose and disappear, but just a whole lot slower than most natural items.  Once expose to air it will last as long as 25 days.  I cannot imagine today eating a Ding Dong simply by its name alone.  Even so, the downward sales trend of products containing excessive fats, processed sugars and indigestible chemicals represents a cheerless time since jobs will go away, but a time to rejoice that more people are practicing more healthy eating choices.