New York Twinkie lovers: Get ready to go bananas.
The sweet treat known for its golden spongy cake and its creamy vanilla center is returning to its roots with banana-creme filling - the flavor that first made the snack a hit with sweet-toothed people more than 70 years ago.
Hostess, owned by Kansas City, Mo.-based Interstate Bakeries Corp., began selling the banana-creme snack cakes last week at retail stores nationwide. The filling tastes just as sweet as the standard vanilla but with a subtle hint and smell of banana.
Old-timers may remember the taste from the pre-World War II years. From 1930, when the Twinkie was invented, to the 1940s, Twinkies were filled solely with banana creme. But a banana shortage during the war forced Hostess bakers to replace it with the vanilla flavor.
Hostess has reintroduced the flavor during limited-time promotions in the past, but always took the treat off the shelves when the promotion ended.
The company finally was convinced to make the flavor part of its lineup for good after Hostess offered it for four weeks last year for the release of the movie "King Kong." Total Twinkie sales jumped 20 percent during the promotion.
Hostess sells more than 500 million Twinkies each year.