Israel and Hamas were exchanging artillery fire over the Gaza Strip, the Jayhawks had pulled out a squeaker the night before over Chattanooga, and Free State was battling for the state football championship. But the big item of conversation in Lawrence on Friday, as it was around the country: the possible demise of Twinkies.
The iconic cream-filled golden yellow snack cakes were endangered by the sudden closing of its hedge fund-owned corporate parent, Hostess Brands, following a labor dispute with its biggest union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. The company said it would liquidate, immediately lay off its 18,500 workers and close its 33 plants and 565 distribution centers, including facilities in Lenexa (200 workers) and Emporia (500 workers).
The reaction to this news was near-panic among Twinkie lovers. Junk food junkies rushed to clean out store inventories of their beloved golden cakes. The Massachusetts Street Dillons, for instance, only had the inferior chocolate version of Twinkies left at noontime.
Also threatened: related brands such as Hostess Cup Cakes, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and another famous American bakery brand name, Wonder Bread.
Truth be told, this probably isn’t really the end of Twinkies and its snack food siblings. Odds are that the brands and their recipes will be purchased in bankruptcy court and quickly revived by another manufacturer. But that didn’t stop the chatter about the death of Twinkies, and the Journal-World went out on the streets in Lawrence to listen to what people were saying.