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Squeezing Twinkie profits: The case of the shrinking treat

Monday, 15 Jul 2013 | 4:40 PM ET
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Twinkies are back, though they may be a bit smaller than you remember.

The new boxes hitting shelves this week list the cream-filled yellow sponge cakes as having 270 calories and a weight of 77 grams for two cakes, or 135 calories and 38.5 grams for one cake.

Right before it went out of business, the predecessor company told The Associated Press that Twinkies were 150 calories per cake. Photos of past boxes online show the weight of each cake as 42.5 grams.

A spokeswoman for Hostess, Hannah Arnold, said in an email Monday that the the predecessor had changed the size in "mid-2012." That would mean it happened in the months leading up to the bankruptcy, as the company was trying to stay afloat financially.

(Read more: Wal-Mart sells Twinkies early)

Twinkies' longer shelf, which AP reported earlier this month, was also a change the predecessor company decided on just before it went bankrupt, Arnold said. The 45-day shelf life, up from 26 days, was implemented Nov. 1.

(Read more: Twinkie shelf life increases)

Sweet return—Twinkies rise again!
Dean Metropoulos, chairman and CEO of C. Dean Metropoulos & Co., discusses the relaunch of Hostess snack brands.

Twinkies and other snack cakes were purchased by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. after Hostess Brands said it was closing down in November.

The predecessor company had failed to reach a contract agreement with The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which noted that its members had already taken pay cuts to help keep Hostess operating.

The new owners, known for righting struggling brands, are not using unionized workers. The bakers union has encouraged them to change their approach and work with its members, saying that their experience offers "the best chance for long-term success in consistently putting out a quality product."

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