The maker of Twinkies and other sweet snack cakes have been hyping the
return of the treats to America's stores on Monday.
But it appears mega-retailer Walmart is getting a jump on what Hostess Brands has dubbed "The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever."
The Walmart Supercenters in the Columbus area are now getting Twinkies in stock and should have them on shelves soon, Ben Thames, general manager of the Walmart on Gateway Road, said today.
"As soon as it's checked in, we will be rolling them to the floor," said Thames, who hopes to have his on display by 1 p.m. today. "I'm going to put mine right up in front of my building."
USA Today reported that about 1,600 Walmart stores should have Twinkies out for sale today, while 3,000 of its 4,000 locations will have them stocked by Sunday.
Hostess Brands LLC, which bought the brands to Twinkies, Zingers and other snacks out of bankruptcy court, has been pushing hard toward a July 15 debut. It has been using social media and general word of mouth to promote the products' return.
The Dolly Madison Bakery on Victory Drive in Columbus, one of four purchased by the new Hostess owners, has been preparing for production several weeks.
Hannah Arnold, a public relations representative for the company, said today via email that the Columbus plant will make all of the company's snack cakes, with the exception of SnoBalls, SuzyQs, HoHos and Mini Muffins. The locally produced produts will include the popular Zingers.
"Under the company's new distribution system, a third party vendor transports product to retailers' warehouses," she said. "There are no plans to open the thrift/outlet stores."
The Columbus bakery has a vacant Dolly Madison store in front of it.
There have been media reports that Hostess will ship some of its products frozen. But Arnold said 90 percent of the goods will be delivered fresh.
"A small number of customers -- representing only about 10 percent of the distribution -- explicitly requested to receive frozen product," she said. "This allows the retailer to date the product for freshness, provides flexibility in filling their shelves and has no impact on the quality or taste of Hostess products."
She noted the decision to ship frozen or not is up to the individual retailers.
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