The new deep-fried snack was inspired by consumer demand, according to Hostess, which said it has experienced 17% year-on-year growth since returning to the market three years ago.
“We realized our consumers have deep-fried their Twinkies for a number of years now, either at their back-yard barbecue or state fairs,” said Hostess vice president of marketing, Ellen Copaken. “And we’ve also seen a trend at restaurants where deep-fried Twinkies are actually offered on the menu as a popular desert item.”
The Deep Fried Twinkie is rolling out now - initially exclusively at Wal-Mart stores across the US - in two flavors: Original Golden and Double Chocolate. The product is a regular Twinkie that is covered in a funnel cake batter, partially fried, then instantly frozen and packaged. Consumers can heat it up in microwave.
Deep Fried Twinkies retail at $4.76 for a pack of seven - selling at a premium to regular Twinkies that come in a 10-pack and retail between $2.99 and $3.99 per pack.
Hostess is expected to extend the products to most US retailers by the end of this year.
The launch comes just weeks after Hostess announced it was being acquired by a division of private equity firm The Gores Group. The deal was struck three years after Hostess was bought out of liquidation by Dean Metropolous and Apollo Global Management, and will make Hostess a publicly listed company valued at around $2.3bn.
The extension into the frozen aisle was an example of how Hostess is thinking about its innovation and growth strategy, Copaken told BakeryandSnacks
“Hostess is an iconic brand, and it has the legs to extend into new product segments, new categories, as well as new locations and stores,” she said.
Partnership with Mars
Earlier this year, Hostess entered the brownie segment through a partnership with Mars, and is tapping the in-store bakery category through the acquisition of Massachusetts-based bakery business Superior on Main.
Hostess currently produces around 500 million Twinkies a year, and said it expects to see this number grow following the launch of Deep Fried Twinkies.