Delicious in Pink

by Lucy Sutton
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CupCakes, those fun squiggle-topped treats from Hostess Brands, Inc., Irving, TX, get a new look this year with pink icing and a strawberry flavor.

“Strawberry is an increasingly popular flavor trend, and we wanted to offer consumers the chance to enjoy our signature cupcake with festive pink icing and the fresh taste of strawberry,” said Mike Touhey, vice-president of snack marketing for Hostess Brands.

Now available nationwide in 8-packs for a suggested retail price of $3.99, the new variety builds upon the popularity of the iconic line of Hostess CupCakes, invented in 1919. In 1950, baking executive D.R. (Doc) Rice added the signature squiggle design and vanilla creme filling to the original chocolate CupCakes, making the snack “the best-selling snack cake in history,” according to the Hostess website.

“Hostess CupCakes have earned a place as an icon of Americana,” Mr. Touhey said. “Our Original Chocolate CupCakes, in addition to Golden CupCakes and flavored Orange CupCakes, have been popular treats for years. The permanent addition of Strawberry CupCakes to the line will give our loyal fans another reason to choose Hostess CupCakes and draw in new consumers who love the refreshing strawberry flavor.”

The company supported the product’s introduction with a national Hostess CupCake Jackpot promotion throughout May. Consumers registered game codes on the back of specially marked packages of CupCakes at the hostesscakes.com website, where they were able to spin the Cupcake Flavor Wheel for a chance at a $10,000 grand prize. The company also awarded more than 300 daily prizes including cash, a year’s supply of CupCakes and Flip Video cameras with customized squiggle skins.

“Consumers continue to seek out new flavor varieties of their favorite treats across many food categories including snack cakes,” Mr. Touhey said. “Hostess already satisfies cupcake cravings with a variety of flavors, and we wanted to give consumers another delicious flavor to choose from.”

The strawberry flavor was originally introduced as part of Hostess’ 100 Calorie Packs, packages of three miniature cupcakes to satisfy a sweet tooth without over-indulging. That product’s popularity — what Mr. Touhey called “an enormous hit” — led to the expansion of the flavor into the regular-sized CupCakes.

According to the most recent data from research firm Mintel, Chicago, IL, Hostess 100 Calorie Packs garnered $29 million in 2007 and $49 million in 2008, for a 69% increase over the two-year period.

“We expect Strawberry CupCakes to become a solid performer within our line of Hostess CupCakes and to become a consumer favorite for years to come,” Mr. Touhey said.