If you've been stockpiling Twinkies since childhood, it's time to load up even more. And no, not because they're having a Hoarders casting call. The Wall Street Journal reports today that Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies (and Wonder Bread, if you fetishize that too) is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, possibly as soon as this week.
Hostess, a privately held company based in Irving, Texas, has outstanding debts of more than $860 million and owes over $50 million to vendors, an economic situation that sources attribute to rising prices for sugar, flour and other ingredients and higher labor costs which the company's approximately $2.5 billion in annual sales have not been able to cover. This will be Hostess' second restructuring, the company having previously filed for bankruptcy in 2004. While sales of most products have been flat, sales of Twinkies have declined: The nearly 36 million packages of the little cakes sold in 2011 reflect a decline of about 2%.
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One thing to think about -- as you fill your Wal-Mart cart and your end-of-the-world bunker with bakery boxes -- is just what's in each package. According to a lovely piece by the blog Fooducate, there are 37 ingredients in each Twinkie. Although there is something to be said for having your own tiny chemistry lab in plastic wrap.