Living in a world without Twinkies

March 1, 2012 | Teresa

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Twinkie roadOne of my fondest memories of childhood was the occasional treat of the pure indulgence of a Twinkie.  My mother in law, when my husband was young, would put a candle in the middle of one, and presto - a ready made birthday cake!

Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, as well as the equally delicious Ding Dongs, Hostess Cupcakes, and Snow Balls, recently announced that the company was filing for bankruptcy protection.  It seems that today's consumer is after healthier snacks. 

This whole discussion about Twinkies got me thinking about the snack cake industry in general. So I decided to have a look to see what I could find.  A field trip to my local grocery store showed that a couple of other companies are out there in terms of competition.  Vachon, a Quebec company founded in 1923, has multiple lines of products, as does Little Debbie, a Tennessee based company also founded around the Great Depression had significant shelf space.

But all of these companies are privately held - therefore they don't need to give any sales figures.  So how does one find information on industries that are rife with private companies? 

I began my search with the Gale Virtual Reference Library, which has a directory called The Market Share Reporter.  A quick search revealed that Little Debbie and Hostess are the top brands for sales.  This reference also gave me a NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) code to work with.  This gives what the company sees as its major line of business.  In this case it was 311812 (Commerical Bakeries).  With this code I could now search a number of databases to find out more information. 

Other possibilities for searching for more industry information, to name a few, include:

All accessible with your TPL library card through our website.  Marketline is the only exception - you need to be at one of the Research and Reference branches of the system.  This approach can be used for almost any industry that you are looking to find information on.  Industry periodicals, and statistical sources such as Statistics Canada and the Census Bureau of the United States compiles industry statistics  are also great sources for information.

By the way - Hostess has assured that the flow of Twinkies will continue despite its bankruptcy filing.  Another crisis averted!