Nobody should be surprised that Hostess Brands is partnering with other major consumer packaged foods companies to come out with frozen Deep Fried Twinkies or Hostess ice cream in CupCakes, Sno Balls and Twinkies varieties. Quite frankly, that’s because William Toler, Hostess president and chief executive officer, telegraphed it to Sosland Publishing editors in an exclusive report a year ago.
Back then, Mr. Toler hinted at how Hostess planned to fill in the unexplored “white space” for expanding the powerful Hostess brands into other categories, including ice cream, brownies, cookies and more.
“We’ve essentially employed a model where we want to be sold everywhere a candy bar is sold,” Mr. Toler said.
And that “white space” also included venturing into every retail outlet and potentially the food service and in-store bakery channels. At the recent ICR Conference 2017, an optimistic Mr. Toler outlined how far the company has come over the past 12 months. And he once again telegraphed the potential opportunities for Hostess in the near future.
In many ways, he is simply leveraging the power of the brand, very much like Mondelez International has expanded its powerhouse Oreo name into at least a dozen other food categories. That’s because sweet goods is a fun, impulse-driven category that lends itself well to “expandable consumption” — two of Mr. Toler’s favorite words to describe the Hostess business.
And what about the Hostess brands? One of Mr. Toler’s favorite stories involves what happened after a group of investors bought the company and returned its powerhouse portfolio to the market a few years ago.
“People, literally friends, will come up and thank us for saving the Twinkie,” he said. “Well, nobody ever thanked us for saving the Vlasic pickle. But the Twinkie, people care about.”