Twinkies to return to U.S. stores with longer shelf life

Twinkies don't last forever, but they'll have more staying power than most people remember the snack cakes having when they return to U.S. store shelves next week.

Popular cream-filled snack cake to return July 15

Twinkies are due to return to U.S. stores July 15. When they do, they will have a shelf life of 45 days, almost twice as long as the 26 days the old Twinkies were said to last. The popular snack cake stopped being sold in November after the company that makes them, Hostess, went bankrupt. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Twinkies don't last forever, but they'll have more staying power than most people remember when they return to U.S. store shelves next week.

Hostess Brands LLC says the spongy yellow cakes will have a shelf life of 45 days when they start hitting shelves again July 15. That's nearly three weeks longer than the 26 days the previous owner had stated as the shelf life for Twinkies.

A spokeswoman for Hostess, Hannah Arnold, says the change to extend the shelf life was actually made by the old company that went bankrupt, with the longer-lasting cakes first hitting shelves on Nov. 1 of last year.

But the old company went out of business and stopped production just weeks after that, meaning the Twinkies most people are familiar with had the shorter lifespan.

Arnold declined to say what changes were made to extend the shelf life, saying that it is proprietary information.

Unclear whether Canadian cakes will change

In Canada, the snack cakes are made by Vachon, the bakery division of Canadian cheese company Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP).

The Montreal-based company has held the rights to the Hostess brand for decades and makes items such as Twinkies as part of its current lineup of snack cakes. However, the Vachon-branded products such as Jos. Louis and May West are much more popular in Canada.

Saputo officials couldn't immediately say if the Canadian Twinkies will have a longer shelf.

Last week, the New York Post also reported that Hostess will start freezing some of its cakes to extend their shelf life. That means that Twinkies would be delivered to stores frozen so retailers can stamp their own expiration dates on the cakes.

Arnold said in a statement that "a select number of retail customers" representing about 10 per cent of its distribution made the request for frozen products. She declined to say which retailers requested the frozen Twinkies.

Hostess shuttered its factories this past November, after years of management turmoil and a failure to reach a contract agreement with its second-biggest union. Its brands were sold off in chunks to different buyers; Twinkies and other Hostess cakes were purchased by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., which also owns Pabst Brewing Co.

As to whether the freezing would affect the taste, Arnold said in a statement that "any suggestion that Hostess is changing the integrity of the iconic snack cakes consumers have loved is completely untrue."

With files from The Canadian Press