Twinkie junkies have spoken.
Since Hostess Brands Inc. announced today it plans to liquidate and sell its products until supplies run out, Americans have been scooping up Twinkies to get a fix of their beloved favourite snacks. Supermarkets are running out and fans are pushing up prices on Ebay.
A Jewel-Osco store in Chicago is already out of Twinkies.
"We may have a few things left, but pretty much we're out of our Hostess stuff," Paul Knoblock, assistant store manager, said in a telephone interview.
The store is supposed to receive another Hostess delivery tomorrow and he hasn't heard of it being canceled, he said.
A 10-pack of Twinkies is available on Ebay for $24.99 and four 10-packs are listed for $99.99 on the online retailer's website. Other Hostess products including Zingers, Coffee Cakes and Cup Cakes are for sale on EBay.
A 10-pack of Twinkies are listed for $3.29 on the Peapod website, a home delivery grocery seller owned by Royal Ahold NV.
Hostess, which also makes Wonder bread, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, plans to fire more than 18,000 employees and liquidate assets after a nationwide strike by bakery workers crippled operations. The 82-year old maker of snack cakes was undone by the strike after changes in American diets led to years of declining sales while ingredient costs and labor costs rose.
Supervalu Inc., the third-largest U.S. grocery-store chain, said it's seeing a jump in sales.
"We are definitely seeing an increase in customers purchasing Hostess products and expect this will continue as news about the company spreads," Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Supervalu, said in an interview. Hostess delivers its food directly to stores, so there is no inventory in Supervalu warehouses, he said.
"We will only have the products while supplies last," he said. All of the company's banners, which include Jewel-Osco, Albertsons and Shoppers, carry Hostess items, he said.
Supervalu has a network of about 2,400 traditional and discount food retail stores, according to a company filing.
Yesterday, searches for Hostess on Google were about 11 times higher from a week ago, and searches for Twinkies were 17 times higher, according to data from Crystal Dahlen, a spokeswoman for Google Inc.
"We're actually seeing a big jump in searches for both Hostess and Twinkies," she said in an e-mail.
Keith Dailey, a spokesman for Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery chain, said in an e-mail that the company typically doesn't comment on vendor bankruptcies and he hasn't heard of an increase in Hostess sales.
"Of course it is still early," he said.