Geek Trivia

Which Incredibly Shelf-Stable Food Was Once Quite Perishable?

Bacon Bits
Baked Beans
What Medicine Is Radically More Effective When Produced In Zero Gravity?
Twinkie snack cakes, with one broken open to reveal the cream filling
Hostess Brands, Inc.

Answer: Twinkies

Twinkies have quite the reputation as an indestructible treat where the expiration date is more of a legal necessity than any sort of actual caution against eating them. While that reputation might be well deserved, Twinkies do eventually go bad (officially, the shelf life of a Twinkie is 45 days). Historically, however, the first Twinkie recipe was quite delicate, and early Twinkies spoiled after mere days.

Introduced in 1930, the original Twinkie had a shelf life of only two days because of the eggs, milk, and butter used. Salesman were continually dispatched to replenish the stock on local shelves. A shortage of ingredients, especially the bananas that made up the original cream filling, led to a restructuring of the recipe. In the process, Hostess opted to make Twinkies more shelf stable to cut down on the expense of constantly restocking them.