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Subject:  Long Live Twinkies! Date:  7/9/2013  9:03 PM
Author:  2828 Number:  688430 of 795245

As more than 50 million Twinkies start making their way to stores next week, the first order of business for the 83-year-old brand's new owner is to let customers know a classic is back.

But behind the return of the familiar cream-filled sponge cake is a leaner operation, free of the union contracts and the $1.3 billion in debt that saddled the brand's previous owners. With that clean slate, the new owner and chief executive, C. Dean Metropoulos, plans to launch an ambitious growth plan and avoid the problems that led to two Chapter 11 bankruptcies, the last of which ended in liquidation.

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The previous distribution system involved roughly 6,000 drivers—all with union wages and pension benefits— delivering products to stores and placing them on shelves. The old Hostess distribution was governed by complicate