Twinkies may be smaller than people recall


Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.

Twinkies are back, but they may be a bit smaller than you remember.

The new owners of Hostess have leaner operating costs now that they’re no longer using unionized workers. It turns out the spongy yellow cakes may also be a little smaller than the last Twinkies people ate.

The new boxes hitting shelves list the cakes as having 270 calories and a weight of 77 grams for two cakes, or 135 calories and 38.5 grams for one cake.

Right before it went out of business, the predecessor company had told The Associated Press that Twinkies were 150 calories per cake. Photos of past boxes online also indicate the weight to have been 42.5 grams per cake.

A spokeswoman for Hostess, Hannah Arnold, said in an email Monday that the size change was made in “mid-2012” by the predecessor company. That would mean it happened in the months leading up to its bankruptcy, as the company was trying to keep its head above water financially.

Arnold has also said that the longer shelf life of Twinkies reported by The Associated Press earlier this month was made by the predecessor company right before it went bankrupt. The 45-day shelf life, up from 26 days, was a separate change and hit shelves Nov. 1, she said.

Panera

Panera Bread’s latest pay-what-you-can experiment will be retooled and brought back next winter as a seasonal offering rather than a permanent one, the chain’s founder says.

The Meal of Shared Responsibility was pulled last Wednesday. Since late March, Panera had offered a single menu item, Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl, at its 48 St. Louis-area restaurants. Customers set their own price for the purchase, though the suggested retail price (tax included) was $5.89.

The idea was that the needy could get a nutritious 850-calorie meal for whatever they could afford to pay, while those who pay above the company’s cost make up the difference.

The suburban St. Louis-based company served 15,000 of the meals, Panera’s founder and chairman, Ron Shaich, said in an interview with The Associated Press. But the experiment found flaws: Few needy people were participating, in part because most Panera locations in the region are in middle-class and affluent areas; and after an initial surge of publicity and marketing, awareness about the meal dropped off.

“We were very capable of raising the level of awareness about food security in short spurts,” Shaich said. But as in-store marketing about the meal was replaced and employees stopped explaining the concept to customers, “it seemed to fall into the background.”

“We decided the best thing to do is pull it and retool it,” Shaich said.

Fresh off media coverage on the launch, and with heavy in-store signage and employees explaining how the meal worked, the idea had a rousing start. Customers for the first three weeks were, on average, paying above the retail value, said Kate Antonacci, director of societal impact initiatives for Panera.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top