Amid evolving consumer taste preferences and an upward shift in snacking behaviors, Hostess Brands opened a new Innovation Lab to support the company’s ongoing commitment to product innovation. Located in Lenexa, Kan., the Hostess Innovation Lab employs around 20 researchers, product testers and bakers whose mission is to create new snack cakes that resonate with consumers and bring moments of joy to daily life.
The new facility builds upon the legacy of innovation of the Hostess® brand which includes not just the recent introduction of several new products – including Hostess® Iced Lemon CupCakes and Pumpkin Spice Twinkies® – but also classic Twinkies®, which are in fact an innovation on the original recipe which was a banana crème-filled sponge cake.
Through the lab, sensory booth and focus group areas, the Hostess Innovation Lab provides an inspirational testing center for Hostess Brands to develop new product prototypes, and then test those prototypes through custom-built sensory booths and a focus group room where consumer advocates are invited to participate in the process. The experimentation conducted in the lab harnesses the power of consumer insights and is a unique opportunity for passionate snack cake fans to inform product development. Through the data collected, Hostess Brands can then bring consumers inventive, high-quality products that perform well on store shelves in an efficient, quick-to-market manner that accommodates the needs of retail partners.