6 Ways Hostess Is Building Its Brands

Across sweet baked goods, Hostess Brands is inextricably tied to the convenience-store category, which accounts for 44% of the company’s retail sales, compared to 25% via grocery, according to UBS Global Research.

Hostess holds a 32% share of the $1.7 billion snack-cake category and 25% share of the $1.5 billion mini-doughnut segment. With the breakfast category—a $1.4 billion market—Hostess has the opportunity to gain $100 million in retail sales, according to Steven Strycula, an analyst with New York-based UBS.

Its Chicago baking plant, Strycula said in a recent research note, offers an opportunity for breakfast category growth by:

  • Producing Hostess breakfast products in new categories.
  • Baking breakfast products Hostess already sells that are produced by co-manufacturers.
  • Migrating volume mix from private label to value-branded products, such as Cloverhill and Big Texas.

“Hostess remains in the early innings of this multiyear category buildout,” Strycula said. “Hostess’ recent acquisition of the Chicago [Cloverhill] bakery provides Hostess new manufacturing capability for breakfast products. Previously, Kansas City, Mo.-based Hostess had outsourced breakfast pastry production to third-party co-manufacturers, which is a low-margin trade-off.”

Click through to view six anchor products that are helping fuel Hostess' brand revitalization.

Images courtesy of Hostess Brands

Bakery Petites

Responding to consumer demand for poppable treats with clean ingredients, Hostess recently introduced Bakery Petites. The line is inspired by fresh, hand-crafted bakery treats and are offered in three varieties: Cake Delights, cream-filled cake balls in double chocolate and white fudge vanilla flavors; Brownie Delights, mini fudge brownies in chocolate chunk and chocolate raspberry flavors; and Crispi Thins, thin and crispy cookies in fudge blondie and chocolate brownie flavors. The varieties come in 6-ounce stand-up bags.

Baseball Cupcakes

Hostess capitalized on the return of Major League Baseball by introducing limited-time Baseball CupCakes in April, the first month of the MLB season. Available in two varieties, Day Game CupCakes feature frosted yellow cake and Night Game CupCakes feature frosted chocolate cake. Both have a creamy filling and are embossed with the original “red squiggle” to emulate the design of a baseball.

Hostess Brownies

Sweet on co-branding opportunities, Hostess and Nestle USA had offered Hostess Brownies made with Butterfinger. The variety, available in multipack and single-serve formats, featured a brownie coated in fudge with Butterfinger candy pieces sprinkled on top. This rollout followed on the heels of Hostess’ introduction of Hostess Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies and Peanut Butter HoHos.


Hostess added flavors to two of its on-the-go snacks, Donettes and Coffee Cakes. Cinnamon Sugar Crunch Donettes are topped with cinnamon, sugar and crunchy crumbs, and Apple Streusel Coffee Cakes have an apple flavor topped with sugar crumb streusel.

Mini Muffins

Hostess Mini Muffins are available in Blueberry and Chocolate Chip flavors and in a multipack format.

Twinkies Cone

On the frozen novelty side of the business, Twinkie frozen cream-filled cones are topped with golden sponge cake crumbles. They are available only as multipacks.