Those of us who are distressed about food waste say supermarket expiration dates are insufficiently long.
Not for Twinkie.
Called a pale yellow calorie tube by the Wall Street Journal, Twinkies’ shelf life used to be 26 days. Three years ago, it nearly doubled to 45 days. Now it is up to 65.
Where are we going? To how a firm competes.
The Twinkie Story
More than shelf life, the Twinkie story is about an afterlife. Four years ago, the firm that makes Twinkies (and Ding Dongs and Ho Hos) had to liquidate. But two financial firms bought the assets and turned on the ovens. To make it work this time they needed more efficient distribution, production and new products. Part of that formula was a longer shelf life that just meant adding an enzyme to the recipe. Larger ovens and robots entered the factory and the deep fried Twinkie was a new product that came out of it.
Perhaps further assuring the snack’s longevity, starting today you can buy Twinkie stock. Listed as TWNK on Nasdaq, the firm that controls Twinkies and all of its siblings is letting each us own a very small piece of a deep fried chocolate Twinkie.
Our Bottom Line: Monopolistic Competition
Twinkies’ producers say that it has never had a problem with demand. In a monopolistically competitive market with many sellers and buyers, it has conveyed a unique identity that ensured its longevity (in many ways).
My sources and more: For more of the Twinkies story, NPR explains their longevity and the Atlantic talks about their temporary demise while WSJ explains their resurrection and also the complexities of their public offering. As someone who loves broccoli, Twinkie’s appeal has fascinated me.