As I was preparing to write this post I realized it had been years since I’ve enjoyed the sweet, spongy, cream filled delicacy that is the Twinkie. So, I made my way to a store and soon realized I couldn’t buy just one individual cake, I had to buy a box of 10. What I thought was going to cost me a quarter, ended up costing me $3.39! Twinkies have been around since 1930 when a baker in Chicago wanted to better utilize shortcake pans and started experimenting with the cream filled spongy cakes. The cakes were initially filled with a banana cream filling but during WWII when bananas were hard to come by, the banana cream filling was replaced with a vanilla flavored filling. Many people think that Twinkies last a long time. I’ve read that some believe Twinkies have a shelf life of 2, 5, and even 10 years. Some have even thought that Twinkies never go bad because they are made from nothing but chemicals. Not true. The shelf-life of Twinkies is about 25 days. Don’t believe it? I didn’t either! In comparison, some MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) can last up to 10 years if stored at 60 degrees. Shelf life is defined as the time that a product is acceptable and meets the consumer’s expectations regarding food quality (Martins 2008). Things that impact shelf life include temperature, water content, light exposure, and oxygen. There are a lot of chemicals in Twinkies (too many to list in this short chapter), but there is also flour, sugar, shortening and eggs. If you indulge, do so in moderation as each cake contains 150 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrates and 220 mg of sodium.
Martins R, Lopes V, Vicente A, Teixeira J: Computational shelf-life dating: complex systems approaches to food quality and safety. Food Bioprocessing Technology (2008), Vol 1, pps. 207-222.