Company Buys Twinkies, Ho Hos and Sno Balls for $410 Million. It’s the Same Company That’s Revived Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) Beer. Plus We Tell the Stories of Other Food Brands That Refused to Die, Including Ovaltine, Log Cabin Syrup, Necco Wafers

Mar 13, 2013  •  Post A Comment

"Hostess Brands, the now bankrupt owner of the cream-filled confections, agreed on Tuesday to sell the snacks — along with Ho Hos, Sno Balls and Dolly Madison Zingers — to two investment firms with a shared history of corporate turnarounds," The New York Times’ DealBook blog reports, adding, "The deal, worth $410 million, was struck nearly four months after the last Twinkie rolled off the baking lines."

One of the two companies that have partnered to buy Hostess, the story says,  is "Metropoulos & Company, which owns Pabst Blue Ribbon [beer] and Vlasic pickles. C. Dean Metropoulos, the food industry veteran who leads the firm that bears his name, is expected to become the chief executive of the snack business."

Metropoulos is partnering with Apollo Global Management in the deal.

The article notes, " ‘There’s a great consumer fan base that hasn’t declined,’ Daren Metropoulos, one of Mr. Metropoulos’ sons and an executive at the family firm, said in an interview. ‘We saw a real opportunity to revitalize these brands, just with some T.L.C.’

"That may come in the form of what the younger Mr. Metropoulos deemed ‘guerrilla marketing,’ much as his firm has done with Pabst Blue Ribbon [beer]. Social media like Twitter are expected to play a big role going forward, he said, and comedian friends like Zach Galifianakis may be drafted as spokesmen. (Will Ferrell, for instance, has starred in commercials for Old Milwaukee beer, part of the Pabst family.)

Twinkies are not the first food brand that has refused to die. An article on the Fox News website this week from www.thedailymeal.com talks about some of these other food brands.

That article says: "Take Ovaltine, for example. Just about everyone who grew up in the 1950s most likely remembers drinking the stuff, but it doesn’t sell nearly as well as it used to, and it’s far from the crown jewel of its parent company, Nestlé. But it has a place in the heart of millions of people all over the world, so you can bet that it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon."

The article also talks about Necco Wafers: "These simple colored sugar wafers, available in eight flavors, were first produced all the way back in 1847, believe it or not. They were included in soldiers’ rations during WWII, and after the war the candy remained popular with both the GIs and their children. Sales bottomed out in the ensuing decades, and in order to enliven the brand in 2009 the entire formula was overhauled. The candies were made all-natural, they were softened up via the addition of glycerin, lime was eliminated altogether, and every other flavor received a makeover. Two years later, however, sales were down 35 percent because longtime customers stopped buying them, so in 2011 they switched back to the old formula.

And about Log Cabin Syrup the article notes, "This is an example of an iconic brand that’s switched owners so many times it’s a near-miracle that it’s made its way out unscathed. Patrick Towle started the brand in 1887, and it was acquired by General Foods in 1927. In 1990 the company merged with Kraft, who sold the brand to Aurora Foods in 1997. Aurora then went bankrupt, so Log Cabin was sold to Pinnacle Foods. One problem? Pinnacle Foods also owns chief competitors Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth’s. They could have easily just dropped the brand from its lineup, but instead just changed the formula so it doesn’t use high-fructose corn syrup, thus differentiating it from the others."

And an article on the Coca-Cola website just last month celebrated the 50th anniversary of its hard-to-find but still manufactured TaB diet soda. In comments to that article Coca-Cola says if you send the company a short note to http://apps.facebook.com/kofeedback saying you want to find out who carries TaB in your area, and include your city and zip code, they will answer you.

One Comment

  1. And this has to do with television… How?

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