In a move that will undoubtedly be celebrated by health-food enthusiasts everywhere, Hostess, Inc.—producers of American favorites like Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs, Mini Muffins and a host of other sweet treats—is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 protection. The privately-owned, Texas-based company currently holds the equivalent of 1.4-billion Twinkies ($860 million) in debt, and has struggled since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009.
High labor prices and growing costs for sugar and other key ingredients precipitated Hostess' dire financial situation, but could another force be at play in the decline of junk food sales—Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" program?
The program's website isn't coy about its anti-snack food message, encouraging people "to eat fewer calories, be more physically active, and make wiser food choices." That message is reportedly causing pain for Hostess's 19,000 employees and countless fans across the world since fewer parents are tossing Ho Hos in their kids' lunch boxes.
Mrs. Obama has frequently spoken out against the way marketing for sweets targets children. When her husband took office, one of her first major projects was to try to ban snack food vending machines in public schools—many of which likely sport Twinkies and Dong Dongs.
As Hostess reels, Obama's crusade against fattening foods appears to be bearing fruit (despite being accused of some grassy-bag hypocrisy.)
There is some reassuring news for those worried about the disappearance of their favorite food snacks, and reports say that there is no need to rush to your local grocery store to snag the last box of Ho Hos. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hostess has lined up $75 million in financing to keep production going while the company settles its problems in court.
The Twinkies, which rumor has it last 100 years in their packaging, are safe ... for now.