10. The Tragedies Of The Great Depression And World War II Gave Us The Bliss Of The Twinkie
Like their most famous product, Hostess should have expired a lot earlier than they did. During the Great Depression, when most companies were on the verge of collapsing, Hostess only stayed in business for a limited time.
James Dewar’s original shortcake recipe had strawberry filling. The problem was that strawberries were only in season for two months. While the economy around them crumbled, staying open for 60 days of the year no longer seemed like a suitable business model.
To accommodate, they switched to a filling available year-round: bananas. These new banana cakes, or “Twinkies,” were a big hit. However, their success was short-lived.
Following America’s entry into World War II, the government placed a ration on bananas. Again, Hostess had to find another filling. During the war, they used vanilla.
The switch was originally meant to be a temporary measure to outlast the ration. To Hostess’ surprise, vanilla cakes were much more popular than the banana ones. Even after the ration ended, they never went back.