Twinkies Wants a Buyer to Believe They’re Kind Of Healthy

They have a study to prove it.

When you think of Twinkies, you think of a lot of things-sugar, snacks, longevity-but perhaps healthy isn’t one of them. The brand would like to change that with a pitch it’s making to prospective buyers that illustrates how the cakes are better for you than the alternatives. Hostess’ owners are trying to sell the company for $2 billion.

According to sales materials the New York Post has seen, “Hostess compares its cream-filled cake to both Kind and Clif brand energy bars, along with Snickers and Twix candy bars and a Starbucks scone.” Twinkies actually has fewer calories and fat than all of the options. (Kind bars have the most calories.) They do OK for carbs and sugar. Though Twinkies are the worst for sodium.

Of course the other options say “no way,” with Clif’s dietitian saying that the tests don’t take vitamins and minerals into account, so the claims are “largely meaningless.”

That may be true. But more importantly, this pitch is deeply flawed because of Twinkies’ reputation. The snack cake is popular because it’s a sweet treat but frowned upon for being unnatural and unhealthy. The company would have to do a lot more than just present a few stats that can be countered by experts to change that.

Of all the ways the company could sell itself, this seems the strangest one. We get the fact that people are trying to be healthier so the company wants to appear that way. But people like the occasional indulgence. Nostalgia is a good angle. Even fun will work, as Corona proves.

This “healthier than thou” approach is just not a pursuasive one. Which doesn’t mean that it’s not a company worth spending $2 billion on. That just might not be the message that gets the asking price.