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Coming Soon: Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear

Do you remember this commercial?  In the late 90s, Hostess made several memorable "Where's the cream filling?" commercials advertising their most popular snack cake, "The Twinkie."

This past Christmas season, I was browsing stores for different types of snacks for our house guests and came across a display of some snacks I haven't eaten in years:  Hostess, Drake's, Little Debbie, Entenmann's, and more.  The branding sucked me right in, and the bright colors and large letters on the boxes pulled on my nostalgia strings while memories of childhood snacks that Mom would occasionally toss in my lunch box came rushing back to me.  

I grabbed an armful before something else caught my eye.  All three brands had basically the same snack.  Little Debbie has the "Swiss Roll," Hostess has the "Ho-Ho," and Drake's has the "Yodel."  I knew these companies had similar products since my favorite snack, the Apple flavored "Fruit Pie," is made by all four Hostess, Drake's, Little Debbie, and Entenmann's, but I never had sampled them all at the same time.  I figured, what the heck, it's Christmas time, and picked up all 3 boxes of the chocolate pastries in front of me.  

After I got them home, my family and I sampled the Ho-Ho/Swiss Roll/Yodel variations.  Personally, I think Little Debbie wins this round, but the verdict is still out on their other snacks.  

In discussing the three snack cakes, I was reminded of the media frenzy from a few years ago when Hostess declared bankruptcy and was sold off in pieces.  I've always been interested in seemingly inconsequential things like what company owns what and what brand belongs to which company.  My Mom has always had a theory that 3 companies own everything, and she's not wrong.  Maybe she's off by a number or two, but when you think of the number of products you use and look into who owns them, the "competition" that exists between some brands seems silly.

Pondering this sale and the breakup of Hostess, and seeing some Drake's "Fruit Pies" that say "By Hostess" on them, I've decided to do a deep dive into the history of these companies.  It won't be much of a "personal perspective" article, but more of a company history and a compilation of their top brands and those brands of snacks we loved but don't exist any longer and wish were still around.  

If you'd be so kind, please keep checking back for my upcoming series of posts in February that I'll be calling "Lunchbox Snacks of YesterYear."  Before the month is through, I hope to cover Hostess, Drake's, Little Debbie, and Entenmanns, along with one or two "Retro Scans" and some other fun ideas I have floating around in my head.