News Column

Hostess Bread Supply Drying up at Some Stores

Nov. 29, 2012

Richard Mullins

The great Twinkie shortage apocalypse is spreading to the bread aisle.

Most people may know Hostess as the maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, but several grocery and convenience stores in the Tampa area are seeing shortages of bread, including Wonder and Merita bread and buns that were produced by Hostess Brands Inc.

Irvine, Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc. is going through bankruptcy liquidation amid negotiations between the company's executives and its workers over benefits. Production stopped last week, leading to shortages of Twinkies and other Hostess pastries, triggering a wave of customers anxiously snatching up the cakes.

Some Tampa area CVS stores were out of bread entirely.

Hostess was a large supplier of bread at CVS, said spokeswoman Erin Pensa, and the company is "actively working with potential new suppliers" and "working now to address the stores that are out of stock as quickly as possible."

Some Walgreens stores were almost out of bread, with only a few loaves of another brand: Nature's Own.

Walmart officials declined to comment, though several stores in the area had stocked Merita-brand bread and buns and were out of stock and replaced the inventory with other brands.

Publix officials said shipments of Hostess products stopped last week, including Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Merita products, and spokeswoman Shannon Patten said the stores have shuffled inventory and brought in supplies from other providers to fill the gap.

Barring a change of course, Hostess operations likely will cease permanently. This week, a bankruptcy judge approved a company request to begin winding down operations, though many industry watchers suspect the Twinkie brand and others will find a new life once another company acquires the brands through the liquidation process.

Source: (c)2012 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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