Twinkie-Maker Going Bankrupt A Sign Americans Getting Healthier

While no one likes the sound of 18,500 American workers getting fired, the bankruptcy of Hostess, the maker of everything from iconic twinkies to ho-ho's, is a sign that Americans are beginning to get healthier, even if slowly! The demise of Hostess' fortunes caps off declines at the company after over 80 years in the business of selling sugar and other unhealthy ingredients disguised as tasty snacks for kids. The private equity owners of the company, of course, blame current workers for not taking draconian wage cuts and past workers for now being onerous pension burdens on the company. Therefore they opted to put the company into bankruptcy. 

So what does this bankruptcy actually say about the shifting tastes and consumption patterns of the great American appetite? Clearly, it is evident that Americans are tiptoeing away from the pure-play purveyors of sugar. It is couldn't be happening fast enough as our obesity epidemic is obviously bloating not just waistlines but our healthcare costs as a nation as well. 

Fewer Twinkies is a sure way for us to climb ourselves out of the pit of diabetes, heart failure, and related chronic disease. My heart goes out to the thousands of bakers who will be kicked out on the street by the profit-driven owners of the company. And Twinkies surely will not disappear from our food landscape anytime soon as surely the brand will get sold off piecemeal to some other mega-food company that will doubtlessly shed the related labor and pension liabilities. But for now, we get to relish in the idea that Americans began to stand up to the food giants and say no, to say, "We are beginning to shun the sugar drug dealers and opt for healthier snack options!" 

If you haven't read the book "Twinkie Deconstructed", I highly recommend it. The book is one father's journey to answer his young child's basic question, "Dad, what is inside a Twinkie?" When the father couldn't translate the barely-speakable chemical ingredients, he got on a hunt to decipher the innards of a Twinkie. Let's just say, you will be shocked by what he found out. I know I was.

-Alok Appadurai is co-founder of Fed By Threads and is a writer on food, health, sustainability, the environment, social entrepreneurship, the economy, and beyond. Contact him at alok@fedbythreads.com to schedule speaking engagements in person or online.




Alok Appadurai
Alok Appadurai

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