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What Killed Twinkies

Gary Keller, a Hostess driver for 16 years, carries the last items of his final
delivery at a Hostess Brands Bakery Outlet store in Peoria, Ill.

Gary Keller, a Hostess driver for 16 years, carries the last items of his final delivery at a Hostess Brands Bakery Outlet store in Peoria, Ill. Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

There are plenty of culprits in the recent bankruptcy and closure of Hostess Brands, including weak management, short-sighted labor unions, and poor judgment by investors. But the real reason Hostess is going belly up is a problem that’s been brewing for more than 20 years: The company completely failed to innovate.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Hostess was a staple in the lunchbox of many school kids. Many of us in the baby boomer generation grew up with sandwiches made from Wonder Bread and Hostess Twinkies or Ding Dongs for dessert. But over the past 20 years, most consumers moved away from these products due to changing views on healthy eating.