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editorial

Hostess may go, but the Twinkie will endure

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When news broke last week that Hostess Brands was on the brink of going out of business, reminders quickly emerged of the place the company’s snack cakes hold in American culture: reports that Twinkies were flying off the shelves in grocery stores, wistful paeans to Ding Dongs on Twitter. It’s no surprise; Hostess makes a number of products that are deeply associated with childhood, from the eternally faux-fresh Twinkies to cream-filled cupcakes, Ho Hos, and Wonder Bread. (The company also owns Drake’s, which makes Ring Dings, Yodels, and Devil Dogs.)

Hostess/Globe Staff Illustration

On Monday, a bankruptcy judge ordered Hostess into mediation with its striking bakery workers’ union, improving chances that the company will survive. Hopefully the two sides will reach a deal; hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts hang in the balance.

But even if mediation fails, it remains likely that some of Hostess’s longstanding products will endure. Other food companies, understanding the value of nostalgia, are likely to scoop up the trademarks. Even in an era of obesity concerns and a backlash against processed foods, the Twinkie in moderation can be a powerful connector, a reminder of school lunches and afterschool snacks — and of the way such ready-made baked goods once liberated moms from their ovens. Sure, a fancy cupcake or an artisinal doughnut has its charms. But as baked-good fads come and go, the Twinkie is more likely to survive.

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