Twinkies are making a sweet comeback.
The cream-filled spongecakes and other Hostess snack cakes returned to store shelves Monday after an eight-month sabbatical.
Boxes were flying off the cardboard display at a Stop & Shop in New Hyde Park, which received its shipment of Twinkies, Donettes and CupCakes on Sunday, manager Pat Derise said.
In the next two weeks, Hostess will deliver about 100 million snack cakes to more than 100,000 stores, according to a company statement. Hostess now ships its baked goods to retailer warehouses instead of directly to stores, a shift that expands its market into dollar, club and drugstores that were once inaccessible.
"Our goal is as simple as it is ambitious: Wherever consumers can buy a candy bar, they should be able to purchase a Twinkie," Hostess Brands chief executive Dean Metropoulos said in the statement.
Hostess abruptly discontinued production amid labor and financial troubles last November. Private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. bought the brand in March to revive it.
Laura Cote, 60, of Bellerose, said her youngest son, Matthew, has been "in mourning" since Twinkies vanished from stores last year.
Cote, who snapped up a box of Twinkies at the Stop & Shop, sees them as an "American institution."
"I can't imagine ever coming across somebody who hasn't at least faced a Twinkie. Whether you like them or not, you know what a Twinkie is," she said.
Eileen Ammendolea, 59, also of Bellerose, bought two boxes for her son's 30th birthday at his request. She said the new Twinkies -- slightly smaller and with an extended shelf life since last November -- will still appeal to all who remember them.
And Hostess' flashy relaunch may initiate a new generation of Twinkie fans, Ammendolea added, her granddaughter in mind. "We'll raise her on Twinkies and see what she thinks."
Since June 24, Hostess' multimillion-dollar marketing campaign has aimed to not only galvanize its loyal fan base, but also to attract younger customers. Its ungrammatical tagline, "The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever," is "younger, a little bit more aggressive, a little bolder," said Dave Lubeck, executive vice president at Bernstein-Rein, one of two advertising agencies that created the campaign. Hostess is expanding from grocery stores, where families shop, to convenience stores, where the clientele is predominantly younger and male, Lubeck said.
Jovan Muniz, 27, of New Hyde Park, who bought a box with his girlfriend, admits he hoarded snack cakes before they disappeared last fall. Still, he said, "You never realize how much you like something until it's gone."
The skinny on Twinkies
Serving size: 2 cakes
Calories per serving: 270
Total fat: 9 grams
Cholesterol: 35 milligrams
Dietary fiber: 0 grams
Top 5 ingredients: Enriched bleached wheat flour, water, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup
Shelf life: 45 days
Suggested price: $3.99 for a box of 10