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Is the Health-conscious Parent Killing the Twinkie?

The End of the Twinkie?

There was a time, not that long ago, when the Twinkie held a carefree, coveted and creamy mystique. But throughout the years, Twinkie’s image has been tarnished by such things as Dan White and his “Twinkie Defense,” the questionable list of 37 ingredients and the rumor that a Twinkie has an infinite shelf life. But the biggest hit that the Twinkie has taken has been the punch of the health-conscious parent and their avoidance of feeding their beloved children junk food from the likes of Hostess.

This week Hostess (who also makes the Ho-Ho, Ding-Dongs and their once-popular cupcakes) has filed for Chapter 11. The reason? Could it be that the healthy parent is killing the Twinkie?

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I did indulge in the occasional Twinkie, and man, were they good. I was never under the impression that they were “bad,” but I did know that they had no nutritional value at all. Still, as a child, the Twinkie (Or any of the other Hostess brands!) was pure bliss. Is it an experience I would share with my own darling daughter? No way.

The Twinkie’s list of ingredients is daunting. 37 in all. And as Kate Thorp of Divine Caroline noted, “Five ingredients come from rocks,” adding that, “ingredients come from phosphate mines in Idaho, gypsum mines in Oklahoma, and oil fields in China.”

Author Steve Ettlinger in his book “Twinkie Deconstructed” noted that several of Twinkie’s ingredients like “cellulose gum, Polysorbate 60, and calcium sulfate” are items that are used in the creation of “sheet rock, shampoo, and rocket fuel.”

What parent would willingly feed something like that to their child? It turns out there is a growing number of moms and dads who won’t. Hence why sales have been taking a dip in recent years. In 2011, the Twinkie saw a 2% drop in sales. But 36 million packages were STILL sold.

With numbers like that, can the Twinkie really be killed off? Doubtful. The company’s president Brian J. Driscoll said in a statement that, “With generations of loyal consumers, numerous iconic products and a talented and experienced work force, Hostess Brands has tremendous inherent strengths to build upon.”

Have you ever fed your child a Twinkie? Will you now that you know about the ingredients?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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