People have been deep-frying Twinkies for years at restaurants, state fairs, and in their own homes. But Hostess made headlines earlier this month when it announced it would take the indulgent snack into its own hands and start selling Deep-Fried Twinkies in the frozen food section of the grocery store.
That’s just one of the many changes ahead for the iconic brand, however. “A big part of Hostess’s innovation and growth strategy is going to be expanding the Hostess brand into new product segments, new categories, as well as new locations in stores,” Ellen Copaken, Hostess’s vice president of marketing, told Fortune.
Hostess has gone bankrupt twice in the past 12 years—once in 2004 and then again in 2012. The Hostess brand was then bought in 2013 by two private equity firms, Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management. Public company Gores Holdings Inc. has recently entered an agreement to buy Hostess and change its own name to Hostess Brands Inc., effectively reintroducing the brand to the stock market.
Considering Hostess’s previous financial troubles, it’s not surprising that the brand would explore a new direction. Deep-Fried Twinkie, the company’s first foray into the frozen food aisle, is now selling at Walmart.
Copaken told Fortune that Hostess also is planning to enter the in-store bakery, a segment that was worth more than $13 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow to over $18 billion by 2020. Hostess has acquired a bakery, Superior on Main, so the company plans to introduce “high quality, fresh baked goods,” Copaken said.
Additionally, Hostess is planning to provide treats aimed at the health-conscious consumer. Hostess has revamped its Mini Muffins recipe to include 8 grams of whole grains in each serving. It has also cleaned up the product’s nutrition label by removing high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors, and by adding real fruit, according to Copaken.
Whether consumers will turn to Hostess for health food is a big question; since its inception in 1919, the brand has essentially been synonymous with ultra-sweet treats. Snacks like Ding Dongs and Ho Hos aren’t exactly known for their nutritional benefits. The latter, for example, in a serving of 3 snack cakes packs 360 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 43 grams of sugar. Though it may be somewhat off-brand for Hostess, Copaken said there may be more healthier options in the future, as the company updates versions of old recipes or creates completely new ones.