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July 15, 2013

Twinkies may be smaller than people recall

NEW YORK — Twinkies are back, but they may be a bit smaller than you remember.

The new owners of Hostess have leaner operating costs now that they're no longer using unionized workers. It turns out the spongy yellow cakes may also be a little smaller than the last Twinkies people remember eating.

The new boxes hitting shelves list the 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 had told the Associated Press that Twinkies were 150 calories per cake. Photos of past boxes online also indicate the weight to have been 42.5 grams per cake.

A spokeswoman for Hostess, Hannah Arnold, said in an email Monday that the size change was made in "mid-2012" by the predecessor company. That would mean it happened in the months leading up to its bankruptcy, as the company was trying to keep its head above water financially.

Arnold has also said that the longer shelf life of Twinkies reported by the Associated Press earlier this month was made by the predecessor company right before it went bankrupt. The 45-day shelf life, up from 26 days, was a separate change and hit shelves Nov. 1, she said.

For retailers who request it, the company also said it's freezing Twinkies so stores can stamp their own expiration dates on them.

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 firms, which are known for fixing up struggling brands, have far lower production costs because they're not using unionized workers.

The company has said that Twinkies will remain the same price, at $3.99 for a box of 10. Retailers may charge different prices, however.

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