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The Story of How King Kong Changed the Twinkie Game

Image courtesy: Weirdos from Another Planet

And now for something a little different. Let’s talk Twinkies!

In case you hadn’t noticed, snack foods have gotten pretty weird in recent years. Brands like Hostess, Nabisco, and Kellogg’s have been working hard to out-do each other in the weird department, unleashing Twinkies, Oreos, and Pop-Tarts with increasingly bizarre flavors. Hell, I just finished a package of Peeps Oreos – and yes, they do alter the color of… certain things.

Unique snack items, of course, are nothing new. Back in ’05, Hostess gave King Kong his very own Twinkies in celebration of the release of Peter Jackson’s 8-hour film; naturally, they were banana flavored. At the time, banana Twinkies may have seemed like an oddity, but if you look back through the history of the spongy cakes, you’ll realize that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The history of the Twinkie is actually quite fascinating. As is Kong’s part in it.

The golden sponge cake with creamy filling was invented back in 1930 by James Alexander Dewar, a man inspired by the strawberry shortcake’s lack of year-round availability; when strawberries were out of season, you see, strawberry shortcake could not be made, so Dewar conceived a similar treat that could be enjoyed all year-round. This is how the Twinkie was born.

And the original Twinkie, believe it or not, was banana-flavored.

From 1930 through 1940, Twinkies were exclusively made with bananas, but that changed when World War 2 began. The war, started in 1939, led to bananas being rationed, thereby forcing the Twinkie to evolve. No longer able to be made with bananas, the company switched over to vanilla creme filling; the modern Twinkie proved popular enough that they never looked back.

So what is King Kong’s place in all of this?

Well, the 2005 release of banana-flavored Kong Twinkies was a huge success for Hostess, who saw a 20% spike in sales during the four-week promotion. They had previously brought back banana Twinkies for other limited time promotions, but none of them proved to be as successful as Kong’s; so successful that Banana Twinkies were soon thereafter brought back full time.

To this day, you can find banana Twinkies on the shelf of your local grocery store. They may not feature King Kong on the packaging, but they’re there, dear friends, because of Kong.

Bow before your king. The King of the Twinkies.



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