By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, filed for bankruptcy today, just three years after the company last emerged from insolvency.
The firm has been a victim of economic turmoil, and of health-conscious consumers turning away from Hostess’ famous range of junk foods.
While the company’s products remain popular as an occasional indulgent treat, snacks like the Twinkie have been blamed for exacerbating the U.S.’s obesity epidemic.
Under the name Interstate Bakeries, the company previously filed for bankruptcy protection in 2004, emerging in February 2009.
But today Hostess said that its previous efforts to produce incremental change, including the prior bankruptcy case, were insufficient.
With one third of adults in the U.S. being medically obese, as well as 17 per cent of children, the public mood has turned against high-fat, sugary foods like those made by Hostess.
The company, which has about $860million in debt, said it does not expect disruptions in the manufacturing and delivery of its products during the bankruptcy process.
Hostess, which is based in Irving, Texas, had total assets of $981million and liabilities of $1.43billion as of December 10, 2011.
Its biggest liability is to the Bakery & Confectionary Union & Industry International Pension Fund, to which it owes $944million.
Hostess, founded in 1930, operates around 36 bakeries and employs about 19,000 people, a majority of whom are union members.
‘We remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement that will allow us to amend our labour contracts so that we can emerge from Chapter 11 as a highly competitive company that provides secure jobs for our employees,’ chief executive Brian Driscoll said in a statement.