Investing in creative chemistry

by Dan Malovany
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Hostess' new sandwich bread and buns with a 60-day shelf life prove that extended shelf life is a customer-friendly concept.

When Hostess Brands first rolled out sandwich bread and buns with a 60-day shelf life this spring, several people wondered how it would affect the baking industry. It was certainly met with skepticism by some in the industry.

However, Theresa Cogswell, Baking & Snack contributing editor, believes extended shelf life (E.S.L.) is a customer-friendly concept. It ultimately means fuller shelves (and greater sales) that don’t need to be managed by wholesale bakeries so regularly. Still, she added, many bakers are afraid of new technology.

“Change is a word that makes them break out in hives and run in the other direction,” she noted in the magazine’s September issue. “Today, I can tell you E.S.L. technology is finally being used to its full potential. It took Dean Metropoulos and Apollo Global, the new owners of Hostess Brands, to achieve it. They harbored no preconceived ideas of how the Hostess business should be run. I would bet the words ‘we have always done it that way’ are never uttered in that boardroom or product development lab. More likely, the questions are: How can we do it quicker, better, faster and make more money?”

When Forbes described the Hostess Brands turnaround in April, the magazine reported the company used creative chemistry. The technology behind E.S.L., Ms. Cogswell said, is the “out-of-the-box thinking” that took years to invent and optimize.

“Hostess Brands made the decision to push E.S.L. to its full potential,” she noted. “It ships bread in cartons so that the customer’s store employees now stage Hostess products. Investing the money in creative chemistry, Hostess Brands is positioned to save distribution resources, improve sustainability, reduce carbon footprint and increase the profit margin.”
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