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Business model

Business model innovation is an iterative and potentially circular process[1]

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value,[2] in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. The process of business model construction and modification is also called business model innovation and forms a part of business strategy.[1]

In theory and practice, the term business model is used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, business process, target customers, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, sourcing, trading practices, and operational processes and policies including culture.



The literature has provided very diverse interpretations and definitions of a business model. A systematic review and analysis of manager responses to a survey defines business models as the design of organizational structures to enact a commercial opportunity.[3] Further extensions to this design logic emphasize the use of narrative or coherence in business model descriptions as mechanisms by which entrepreneurs create extraordinarily successful growth firms.[4]

Business models are used to describe and classify businesses, especially in an entrepreneurial setting, but they are also used by managers inside companies to explore possibilities for future development. Well-known business models can operate as “recipes” for creative managers.[5] Business models are also referred to in some instances within the context of accounting for purposes of public reporting.


Over the years, business models have become much more sophisticated. The bait and hook business model (also referred to as the “razor and blades business model” or the “tied products business model”) was introduced in the early 20th century. This involves offering a basic product at a very low cost, often at a loss (the “bait”), then charging compensatory recurring amounts for refills or associated products or services (the “hook”). Examples include: razor (bait) and blades (hook); cell phones (bait) and air time (hook); computer printers (bait) and ink cartridge refills (hook); and cameras (bait) and prints (hook). A variant of this model was employed by Adobe, a software developer that gave away its document reader free of charge but charged several hundred dollars for its document writer.

In the 1950s, new business models came from McDonald’s Restaurants and Toyota. In the 1960s, the innovators were Wal-Mart and Hypermarkets. The 1970s saw new business models from FedEx and Toys R Us; the 1980s from Blockbuster, Home Depot, Intel, and Dell Computer; the 1990s from Southwest Airlines, Netflix, eBay,, and Starbucks.

Today, the type of business models might depend on how technology is used. For example, entrepreneurs on the internet have also created entirely new models that depend entirely on existing or emergent technology. Using technology, businesses can reach a large number of customers with minimal costs. In addition, the rise of outsourcing and globalization has meant that business models must also account for strategic sourcing, complex supply chains and moves to collaborative, relational contracting structures.[6]

Theoretical and empirical insights[edit]

Design logic and narrative coherence[edit]

Design logic views the business model as an outcome of creating new organizational structures or changing existing structures to pursue a new opportunity. Gerry George and Adam Bock (2011) conducted a comprehensive literature review and surveyed managers to understand how they perceived the components of a business model.[3] In that analysis these authors show that there is a design logic behind how entrepreneurs and managers perceive and explain their business model. In further extensions to the design logic, George and Bock (2012) use case studies and the IBM survey data on business models in large companies, to describe how CEOs and entrepreneurs create narratives or stories in a coherent manner to move the business from one opportunity to another.[4] They also show that when the narrative is incoherent or the components of the story are misaligned, that these businesses tend to fail. They recommend ways in which the entrepreneur or CEO can create strong narratives for change.

Complementarities between partnering firms[edit]

Berglund and Sandström (2013) argued that business models should be understood from an open systems perspective as opposed to being a firm-internal concern. Since innovating firms do not have executive control over their surrounding network, business model innovation tends to require soft power tactics with the goal of aligning heterogeneous interests.[7] As a result, open business models are created as firms increasingly rely on partners and suppliers to provide new activities that are outside their competence base.[8] In a study of collaborative research and external sourcing of technology, Hummel et al. (2010) similarly found that in deciding on business partners, it is important to make sure that both parties’ business models are complementary.[9] For example, they found that it was important to identify the value drivers of potential partners by analyzing their business models, and that it is beneficial to find partner firms that understand key aspects of one’s own firm’s business model.[10]

The University of Tennessee conducted research into highly collaborative business relationships. Researchers codified their research into a sourcing business model known as Vested (also referred to as Vested Outsourcing). Vested is a hybrid sourcing business model in which buyers and suppliers in an outsourcing or business relationship focus on shared values and goals to create an arrangement that is highly collaborative and mutually beneficial to each.[11]


From about 2012, some research and experimentation has theorized about a so-called “liquid business model”.[12][13]

Shift from pipes to platforms[edit]

Sangeet Paul Choudary (2013) distinguishes between two broad families of business models in an article in Wired magazine.[14] Choudary contrasts pipes (linear business models) with platforms (networked business models). In the case of pipes, firms create goods and services, push them out and sell them to customers. Value is produced upstream and consumed downstream. There is a linear flow, much like water flowing through a pipe. Unlike pipes, platforms do not just create and push stuff out. They allow users to create and consume value.

Alex Moazed, founder and CEO of Applico, defines a platform as a business model that creates value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups usually consumers and producers of a given value.[15] As a result of digital transformation, it is the predominant business model of the 21st century.

In an op-ed on MarketWatch,[16] Choudary, Van Alstyne and Parker further explain how business models are moving from pipes to platforms, leading to disruption of entire industries.


There are three elements to a successful platform business model.[17] The Toolbox creates connection by making it easy for others to plug into the platform. This infrastructure enables interactions between participants. The Magnet creates pull that attracts participants to the platform. For transaction platforms, both producers and consumers must be present to achieve critical mass. The Matchmaker fosters the flow of value by making connections between producers and consumers. Data is at the heart of successful matchmaking, and distinguishes platforms from other business models.

Chen (2009) stated that the business model has to take into account the capabilities of Web 2.0, such as collective intelligence, network effects, user-generated content, and the possibility of self-improving systems. He suggested that the service industry such as the airline, traffic, transportation, hotel, restaurant, information and communications technology and online gaming industries will be able to benefit in adopting business models that take into account the characteristics of Web 2.0. He also emphasized that Business Model 2.0 has to take into account not just the technology effect of Web 2.0 but also the networking effect. He gave the example of the success story of Amazon in making huge revenues each year by developing an open platform that supports a community of companies that re-use Amazon’s on-demand commerce services.[18][need quotation to verify]


Malone et al.[19] found that some business models, as defined by them, indeed performed better than others in a dataset consisting of the largest U.S. firms, in the period 1998 through 2002, while they did not prove whether the existence of a business model mattered.

In the healthcare space, and in particular in companies that leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence, the design of business models is particularly challenging as there are a multitude of value creation mechanisms and a multitude of possible stakeholders. An emerging categorization has identified seven archetypes.[20]

In the context of the Software-Cluster, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a business model wizard[21] for software companies has been developed. It supports the design and analysis of software business models. The tool’s underlying concept and data were published in various[citation needed] scientific publications.

The concept of a business model has been incorporated into certain accounting standards. For example, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) utilizes an “entity’s business model for managing the financial assets” as a criterion for determining whether such assets should be measured at amortized cost or at fair value in its financial instruments accounting standard, IFRS 9.[22][23][24][25] In their 2013 proposal for accounting for financial instruments, the Financial Accounting Standards Board also proposed a similar use of business model for classifying financial instruments.[26] The concept of business model has also been introduced into the accounting of deferred taxes under International Financial Reporting Standards with 2010 amendments to IAS 12 addressing deferred taxes related to investment property.[27][28][29]

Both IASB and FASB have proposed using the concept of business model in the context of reporting a lessor’s lease income and lease expense within their joint project on accounting for leases.[30][31][32][33][34] In its 2016 lease accounting model, IFRS 16, the IASB chose not to include a criterion of “stand alone utility” in its lease definition because “entities might reach different conclusions for contracts that contain the same rights of use, depending on differences between customers’ resources or suppliers’ business models.”[35] The concept has also been proposed as an approach for determining the measurement and classification when accounting for insurance contracts.[36][37] As a result of the increasing prominence the concept of business model has received in the context of financial reporting, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), which advises the European Union on endorsement of financial reporting standards, commenced a project on the “Role of the Business Model in Financial Reporting” in 2011.[38]


Business model design generally refers to the activity of designing a company’s business model. It is part of the business development and business strategy process and involves design methods. Massa and Tucci (2014)[39] highlighted the difference between crafting a new business model when none is in place, as it is often the case with academic spinoffs and high technology entrepreneurship, and changing an existing business model, such as when the tooling company Hilti shifted from selling its tools to a leasing model. They suggested that the differences are so profound (for example, lack of resource in the former case and inertia and conflicts with existing configurations and organisational structures in the latter) that it could be worthwhile to adopt different terms for the two. They suggest business model design to refer to the process of crafting a business model when none is in place and business model reconfiguration for process of changing an existing business model, also highlighting that the two process are not mutually exclusive, meaning reconfiguration may involve steps which parallel those of designing a business model.

Economic consideration[edit]

Al-Debei and Avison (2010) consider value finance as one of the main dimensions of BM which depicts information related to costing, pricing methods, and revenue structure. Stewart and Zhao (2000) defined the business model as a statement of how a firm will make money and sustain its profit stream over time.[40]

Component consideration[edit]

Osterwalder et al. (2005) consider the Business Model as the blueprint of how a company does business.[41] Slywotzky (1996) regards the business model as the totality of how a company selects its customers, defines and differentiates it offerings, defines the tasks it will perform itself and those it will outsource, configures its resources, goes to market, creates utility for customers and captures profits.[42]

Strategic outcome[edit]

Mayo and Brown (1999) considered the business model as the design of key interdependent systems that create and sustain a competitive business.[43] Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart (2011) explain a business model as a set of choices (policy, assets and governance) and consequences (flexible and rigid) and underline the importance of considering how it interacts with models of other players in the industry instead of thinking of it in isolation.[44]

Definitions of design or development[edit]

Zott and Amit (2009) consider business model design from the perspectives of design themes and design content. Design themes refer to the system’s dominant value creation drivers and design content examines in greater detail the activities to be performed, the linking and sequencing of the activities and who will perform the activities.[45]

Design themes emphasis[edit]

Environment-Strategy-Structure-Operations (ESSO) Business Model Development

Developing a Framework for Business Model Development with an emphasis on Design Themes, Lim (2010) proposed the Environment-Strategy-Structure-Operations (ESSO) Business Model Development which takes into consideration the alignment of the organization’s strategy with the organization’s structure, operations, and the environmental factors in achieving competitive advantage in varying combination of cost, quality, time, flexibility, innovation and affective.[46]

Design content emphasis[edit]

Business model design includes the modeling and description of a company’s:

A business model design template can facilitate the process of designing and describing a company’s business model.

Daas et al. (2012) developed a decision support system (DSS) for business model design. In their study a decision support system (DSS) is developed to help SaaS in this process, based on a design approach consisting of a design process that is guided by various design methods.[47]


In the early history of business models it was very typical to define business model types such as bricks-and-mortar or e-broker. However, these types usually describe only one aspect of the business (most often the revenue model). Therefore, more recent literature on business models concentrate on describing a business model as a whole, instead of only the most visible aspects.

The following examples provide an overview for various business model types that have been in discussion since the invention of term business model:

Business model by which a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) presences. One example of the bricks-and-clicks model is when a chain of stores allows the user to order products online, but lets them pick up their order at a local store.

Business system, organization or association typically composed of relatively large numbers of businesses, tradespersons or professionals in the same or related fields of endeavor, which pools resources, shares information or provides other benefits for their members. For example, a science park or high-tech campus provides shared resources (e.g. cleanrooms and other lab facilities) to the firms located on its premises, and in addition seeks to create an innovation community among these firms and their employees.[48]

The removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: “cutting out the middleman”. Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet.

Direct selling is marketing and selling products to consumers directly, away from a fixed retail location. Sales are typically made through party plan, one-to-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements. A text book definition is: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.”[49]

  • Distribution business models, various
  • Fee in, free out

Business model which works by charging the first client a fee for a service, while offering that service free of charge to subsequent clients.

Franchising is the practice of using another firm’s successful business model. For the franchisor, the franchise is an alternative to building ‘chain stores’ to distribute goods and avoid investment and liability over a chain. The franchisor’s success is the success of the franchisees. The franchisee is said to have a greater incentive than a direct employee because he or she has a direct stake in the business.

  • Sourcing business model

Sourcing Business Models are a systems-based approach to structuring supplier relationships. A sourcing business model is a type of business model that is applied to business relationships where more than one party needs to work with another party to be successful. There are seven sourcing business models that range from the transactional to investment-based. The seven models are: Basic Provider, Approved Provider, Preferred Provider, Performance-Based/Managed Services Model, Vested outsourcing Business Model, Shared Services Model, and Equity Partnership Model. Sourcing business models are targeted for procurement professionals who seek a modern approach to achieve the best fit between buyers and suppliers. Sourcing business model theory is based on a collaborative research effort by the University of Tennessee (UT), the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG)[1], the Center for Outsourcing Research and Education (CORE)[2], and the International Association for Contracts and Commercial Management (IACCM). This research formed the basis for the 2016 book, Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy: Harnessing the Potential of Sourcing Business Models in Modern Procurement.[50]

Business model that works by offering basic Web services, or a basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features.[51]

A non-profit or for-profit business model which does not depend on set prices for its goods, but instead asks customers to pay what they feel the product or service is worth to them.[52][53][54] It is often used as a promotional tactic,[55] but can also be the regular method of doing business. It is a variation on the gift economy and cross-subsidization, in that it depends on reciprocity and trust to succeed.
Pay what you want” (PWYW) is sometimes used synonymously, but “pay what you can” is often more oriented to charity or socially oriented uses, based more on ability to pay, while “pay what you want” is often more broadly oriented to perceived value in combination with willingness and ability to pay.

Value Added Reseller is a model where a business makes something which is resold by other businesses but with modifications which add value to the original product or service. These modifications or additions are mostly industry specific in nature and are essential for the distribution. Businesses going for a VAR model have to develop a VAR network. It is one of the latest collaborative business models which can help in faster development cycles and is adopted by many Technology companies especially software.

Other examples of business models are:


Although Webvan failed in its goal of disintermediating the North American supermarket industry, several supermarket chains (like Safeway Inc.) have launched their own delivery services to target the niche market to which Webvan catered.
Example of Business Model Canvas.

Technology centric communities have defined “frameworks” for business modeling. These frameworks attempt to define a rigorous approach to defining business value streams. It is not clear, however, to what extent such frameworks are actually important for business planning. Business model frameworks represent the core aspect of any company; they involve “the totality of how a company selects its customers defines and differentiates its offerings, defines the tasks it will perform itself and those it will outsource, configures its resource, goes to market, creates utility for customers, and captures profits”.[56] A business framework involves internal factors (market analysis; products/services promotion; development of trust; social influence and knowledge sharing) and external factors (competitors and technological aspects).[57]

A review on business model frameworks can be found in Krumeich et al. (2012).[58] In the following some frameworks are introduced.

Business reference model is a reference model, concentrating on the architectural aspects of the core business of an enterprise, service organization or government agency.

Technique developed by IBM to model and analyze an enterprise. It is a logical representation or map of business components or “building blocks” and can be depicted on a single page. It can be used to analyze the alignment of enterprise strategy with the organization’s capabilities and investments, identify redundant or overlapping business capabilities, etc.

Business model used in strategic management and services marketing that treats service provision as an industrial process, subject to industrial optimization procedures

Developed by A. Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Alan Smith, and 470 practitioners from 45 countries, the business model canvas[2][59] is one of the most used frameworks for describing the elements of business models.

The OGSM is developed by Marc van Eck and Ellen van Zanten of Business Openers into the ‘Business plan on 1 page’. Translated in several languages all over the world. #1 Management book in The Netherlands in 2015. The foundation of Business plan on 1 page is the OGSM. Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures (dashboard and actions).

Related concepts[edit]

The process of business model design is part of business strategy. Business model design and innovation refer to the way a firm (or a network of firms) defines its business logic at the strategic level.

In contrast, firms implement their business model at the operational level, through their business operations. This refers to their process-level activities, capabilities, functions and infrastructure (for example, their business processes and business process modeling), their organizational structures (e.g. organigrams, workflows, human resources) and systems (e.g. information technology architecture, production lines).

The brand is a consequence of the business model and has a symbiotic relationship with it, because the business model determines the brand promise, and the brand equity becomes a feature of the model. Managing this is a task of integrated marketing.

The standard terminology and examples of business models do not apply to most nonprofit organizations, since their sources of income are generally not the same as the beneficiaries. The term ‘funding model’ is generally used instead.[60]

The model is defined by the organization’s vision, mission, and values, as well as sets of boundaries for the organization—what products or services it will deliver, what customers or markets it will target, and what supply and delivery channels it will use. While the business model includes high-level strategies and tactical direction for how the organization will implement the model, it also includes the annual goals that set the specific steps the organization intends to undertake in the next year and the measures for their expected accomplishment. Each of these is likely to be part of internal documentation that is available to the internal auditor.

Business model innovation[edit]

Business model innovation types[61]

When an organisation creates a new business model, the process is called business model innovation.[62][63] There is a range of reviews on the topic,[61][64][65] the latter of which defines business model innovation as the conceptualisation and implementation of new business models. This can comprise the development of entirely new business models, the diversification into additional business models, the acquisition of new business models, or the transformation from one business model to another (see figure on the right). The transformation can affect the entire business model or individual or a combination of its value proposition, value creation and deliver, and value capture elements, the interrelations between the elements, and the value network. The concept facilitates the analysis and planning of transformations from one business model to another.[65] Frequent and successful business model innovation can increase an organisation’s resilience to changes in its environment and if an organisation has the capability to do this, it can become a competitive advantage.[66]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • A. Afuah and C. Tucci, Internet Business Models and Strategies, Boston, McGraw Hill, 2003.
  • T. Burkhart, J. Krumeich, D. Werth, and P. Loos, Analyzing the Business Model Concept — A Comprehensive Classification of Literature, Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2011). Paper 12.
  • H. Chesbrough and R. S. Rosenbloom, The Role of the Business Model in capturing value from Innovation: Evidence from XEROX Corporation’s Technology Spinoff Companies., Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Business School, 2002.
  • Dick Costolo, Business Models,
  • Marc Fetscherin and Gerhard Knolmayer, Focus Theme Articles: Business Models for Content Delivery: An Empirical Analysis of the Newspaper and Magazine Industry, International Journal on Media Management, Volume 6, Issue 1 & 2 September 2004, pages 4 – 11, September 2004.
  • George, G., Bock, AJ. Models of opportunity: How entrepreneurs design firms to achieve the unexpected. Cambridge University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-521-17084-0.
  • J. Gordijn, Value-based Requirements Engineering – Exploring Innovative e-Commerce Ideas, Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, 2002.
  • G. Hamel, Leading the revolution., Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
  • J. Linder and S. Cantrell, Changing Business Models: Surveying the Landscape, Accenture Institute for Strategic Change, 2000.
  • Lindgren, P. and Jørgensen, R., M.-S. Li, Y. Taran, K. F. Saghaug, “Towards a new generation of business model innovation model“, presented at the 12th International CINet Conference: Practicing innovation in times of discontinuity, Aarhus, Denmark, 10–13 September 2011
  • Long Range Planning, vol 43 April 2010, “Special Issue on Business Models,” includes 19 pieces by leading scholars on the nature of business models
  • S. Muegge. Business Model Discovery by Technology Entrepreneurs. Technology Innovation Management Review, April 2012, pp. 5–16.
  • S. Muegge, C. Haw, and Sir T. Matthews, Business Models for Entrepreneurs and Startups, Best of TIM Review, Book 2, Talent First Network, 2013.
  • Alex Osterwalder et al. Business Model Generation, Co-authored with Yves Pigneur, Alan Smith, and 470 practitioners from 45 countries, self-published, 2009
  • O. Peterovic and C. Kittl et al., Developing Business Models for eBusiness., International Conference on Electronic Commerce 2001, 2001.
  • Alt, Rainer; Zimmermann, Hans-Dieter: Introduction to Special Section – Business Models. In: Electronic Markets Anniversary Edition, Vol. 11 (2001), No. 1. link
  • Santiago Restrepo Barrera, Business model tool, Business life model, Colombia 2012,!business-life-model/c1o75 (Spanish)
  • Paul Timmers. Business Models for Electronic Markets, Electronic Markets, Vol 8 (1998) No 2, pp. 3 – 8.
  • Peter Weill and M. R. Vitale, Place to space: Migrating to eBusiness Models., Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 2001.
  • C. Zott, R. Amit, & L.Massa. ‘The Business Model: Theoretical Roots, Recent Developments, and Future Research’, WP-862, IESE, June, 2010 – revised September 2010 (PDF)
  • Magretta, J. (2002). Why Business Models Matter, Harvard Business Review, May: 86-92.
  • Govindarajan, V. and Trimble, C. (2011). The CEO’s role in business model reinvention. Harvard Business Review, January–February: 108-114.
  • van Zyl, Jay. (2011). Built to Thrive: using innovation to make your mark in a connected world. Chapter 7 Towards a universal service delivery platform. San Francisco.

External links[edit]

Industrial applications of nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is impacting the field of consumer goods, several products that incorporate nanomaterials are already in a variety of items; many of which people do not even realize contain nanoparticles, products with novel functions ranging from easy-to-clean to scratch-resistant. Examples of that car bumpers are made lighter, clothing is more stain repellant, sunscreen is more radiation resistant, synthetic bones are stronger, cell phone screens are lighter weight, glass packaging for drinks leads to a longer shelf-life, and balls for various sports are made more durable.[1] Using nanotech, in the mid-term modern textiles will become “smart”, through embedded “wearable electronics”, such novel products have also a promising potential especially in the field of cosmetics, and has numerous potential applications in heavy industry. Nanotechnology is predicted to be a main driver of technology and business in this century and holds the promise of higher performance materials, intelligent systems and new production methods with significant impact for all aspects of society.


  • 1 Foods
    • 1.1 Nano-foods
  • 2 Consumer goods
    • 2.1 Surfaces and coatings
    • 2.2 Textiles
    • 2.3 Cosmetics
    • 2.4 Sports
  • 3 Aerospace and vehicle manufacturers
  • 4 Military
    • 4.1 Biological sensors
    • 4.2 Uniform material
    • 4.3 Communication method
    • 4.4 Medical system
    • 4.5 Weapons
    • 4.6 Risks in military
  • 5 Catalysis
  • 6 Construction
    • 6.1 Cement
    • 6.2 Steel
    • 6.3 Wood
    • 6.4 Glass
    • 6.5 Coatings
    • 6.6 Fire Protection and detection
    • 6.7 Risks in construction
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


A complex set of engineering and scientific challenges in the food and bioprocessing industry for manufacturing high quality and safe food through efficient and sustainable means can be solved through nanotechnology. Bacteria identification and food quality monitoring using biosensors; intelligent, active, and smart food packaging systems; nanoencapsulation of bioactive food compounds are few examples of emerging applications of nanotechnology for the food industry.[2] Nanotechnology can be applied in the production, processing, safety and packaging of food. A nanocomposite coating process could improve food packaging by placing anti-microbial agents directly on the surface of the coated film.
Nanocomposites could increase or decrease gas permeability of different fillers as is needed for different products. They can also improve the mechanical and heat-resistance properties and lower the oxygen transmission rate. Research is being performed to apply nanotechnology to the detection of chemical and biological substances for sensanges in foods.[citation needed]

In general, food substances are not allowed to be adulterated, according to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (section 402).[3] Additives to food must conform to all regulations in the food additives amendment of 1958 as well as the FDA Modernization Act of 1997. In addition, color additives are obliged to comply with all regulations stipulated by the Color Additive Amendments of 1960. A safety assessment must be performed on all food substances for submission and approval by the US FDA. The mandatory information in this assessment includes the identity, technical effects, self-limiting levels of use, dietary exposure and safety studies for the manufacturing processes used, including the use of nanotechnology. Food manufacturers are obliged to assess whether the identity, safety or regulatory status of a food substance is affected by significant changes in manufacturing processes, such as the use of nanotechnology. In their guidance document published in April 2012, the US FDA discusses what considerations and recommendations may apply to such an assessment.[citation needed]


New foods are among the nanotechnology-created consumer products coming onto the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week, according to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), based on an inventory it has drawn up of 609 known or claimed nano-products. On PEN’s list are three foods—a brand of canola cooking oil called Canola Active Oil, a tea called Nanotea and a chocolate diet shake called Nanoceuticals Slim Shake Chocolate. According to company information posted on PEN’s Web site, the canola oil, by Shemen Industries of Israel, contains an additive called “nanodrops” designed to carry vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals through the digestive system and urea.[4] The shake, according to U.S. manufacturer RBC Life Sciences Inc., uses cocoa infused “NanoClusters” to enhance the taste and health benefits of cocoa without the need for extra sugar.[5]

Consumer goods[edit]

Surfaces and coatings[edit]

The most prominent application of nanotechnology in the household is self-cleaning or “easy-to-clean” surfaces on ceramics or glasses. Nanoceramic particles have improved the smoothness and heat resistance of common household equipment such as the flat iron.[citation needed]

The first sunglasses using protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings are on the market. For optics, nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant surface coatings based on nanocomposites. Nano-optics could allow for an increase in precision of pupil repair and other types of laser eye surgery.[citation needed]


The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water- and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-surface protection from electrostatic charges for the wearer. Many other applications have been developed by research institutions such as the Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at Cornell University, and the UK’s Dstl and its spin out company P2i.[citation needed]


One field of application is in sunscreens. The traditional chemical UV protection approach suffers from its poor long-term stability. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles such as titanium oxide offer several advantages. Titanium oxide nanoparticles have a comparable UV protection property as the bulk material, but lose the cosmetically undesirable whitening as the particle size is decreased.[citation needed]


Nanotechnology may also play a role in sports such as soccer, football,[6] and baseball.[7] Materials for new athletic shoes may be made in order to make the shoe lighter (and the athlete faster).[8] Baseball bats already on the market are made with carbon nanotubes that reinforce the resin, which is said to improve its performance by making it lighter.[7] Other items such as sport towels, yoga mats, exercise mats are on the market and used by players in the National Football League, which use antimicrobial nanotechnology to prevent parasuram from illnesses caused by bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as MRSA).[6]

Aerospace and vehicle manufacturers[edit]

Lighter and stronger materials will be of immense use to aircraft manufacturers, leading to increased performance. Spacecraft will also benefit, where weight is a major factor. Nanotechnology might thus help to reduce the size of equipment and thereby decrease fuel-consumption required to get it airborne. Hang gliders may be able to halve their weight while increasing their strength and toughness through the use of nanotech materials. Nanotech is lowering the mass of supercapacitors that will increasingly be used to give power to assistive electrical motors for launching hang gliders off flatland to thermal-chasing altitudes.[citation needed]

Much like aerospace, lighter and stronger materials would be useful for creating vehicles that are both faster and safer. Combustion engines might also benefit from parts that are more hard-wearing and more heat-resistant.[citation needed]


Biological sensors[edit]

Nanotechnology can improve the military’s ability to detect biological agents. By using nanotechnology, the military would be able to create sensor systems that could detect biological agents.[9] The sensor systems are already well developed and will be one of the first forms of nanotechnology that the military will start to use.[10]

Uniform material[edit]

Nanoparticles can be injected into the material on soldiers’ uniforms to not only make the material more durable, but also to protect soldiers from many different dangers such as high temperatures, impacts and chemicals.[9] The nanoparticles in the material protect soldiers from these dangers by grouping together when something strikes the armor and stiffening the area of impact. This stiffness helps lessen the impact of whatever hit the armor, whether it was extreme heat or a blunt force. By reducing the force of the impact, the nanoparticles protect the soldier wearing the uniform from any injury the impact could have caused.

Another way nanotechnology can improve soldiers’ uniforms is by creating a better form of camouflage. Mobile pigment nanoparticles injected into the material can produce a better form of camouflage.[11] These mobile pigment particles would be able to change the color of the uniforms depending upon the area that the soldiers are in. There is still much research being done on this self-changing camouflage.

Nanotechnology can improve thermal camouflage. Thermal camouflage helps protect soldiers from people who are using night vision technology. Surfaces of many different military items can be designed in a way that electromagnetic radiation can help lower the infrared signatures of the object that the surface is on.[11] Surfaces of soldiers’ uniforms and surfaces of military vehicle are a few surfaces that can be designed in this way. By lowering the infrared signature of both the soldiers and the military vehicles the soldiers are using, it will provide better protection from infrared guided weapons or infrared surveillance sensors.

Communication method[edit]

There is a way to use nanoparticles to create coated polymer threads that can be woven into soldiers’ uniforms.[12] These polymer threads could be used as a form of communication between the soldiers. The system of threads in the uniforms could be set to different light wavelengths, eliminating the ability for anyone else to listen in.[12] This would lower the risk of having anything intercepted by unwanted listeners.

Medical system[edit]

A medical surveillance system for soldiers to wear can be made using nanotechnology. This system would be able to watch over their health and stress levels. The systems would be able to react to medical situations by releasing drugs or compressing wounds as necessary.[11] This means that if the system detected an injury that was bleeding, it would be able to compress around the wound until further medical treatment could be received. The system would also be able to release drugs into the soldier’s body for health reasons, such as pain killers for an injury. The system would be able to inform the medics at base of the soldier’s health status at all times that the soldier is wearing the system. The energy needed to communicate this information back to base would be produced through the soldier’s body movements.[11]


Nanoweapon is the name given to military technology currently under development which seeks to exploit the power of nanotechnology in the modern battlefield.[13][14][15][16]

Risks in military[edit]

  • People such as state agencies, criminals and enterprises could use nano-robots to eavesdrop on conversations held in private.[11]
  • Grey goo: an uncontrollable, self-replicating nano-machine or robot.
  • Nanoparticles used in different military materials could potentially be a hazard to the soldiers that are wearing the material, if the material is allowed to get worn out. As the uniforms wear down it is possible for nanomaterial to break off and enter the soldiers’ bodies.[17] Having nanoparticles entering the soldiers’ bodies would be very unhealthy and could seriously harm them. There is not a lot of information on what the actual damage to the soldiers would be, but there have been studies on the effect of nanoparticles entering a fish through its skin. The studies showed that the different fish in the study suffered from varying degrees of brain damage. Although brain damage would be a serious negative effect, the studies also say that the results cannot be taken as an accurate example of what would happen to soldiers if nanoparticles entered their bodies.[18] There are very strict regulations on the scientists that manufacture products with nanoparticles. With these strict regulations, they are able to largely decrease the danger of nanoparticles wearing off of materials and entering the soldiers’ systems.[19]


Chemical catalysis benefits especially from nanoparticles, due to the extremely large surface-to-volume ratio. The application potential of nanoparticles in catalysis ranges from fuel cell to catalytic converters and photocatalytic devices. Catalysis is also important for the production of chemicals. For example, nanoparticles with a distinct chemical surrounding (ligands), or specific optical properties.[citation needed]

Platinum nanoparticles are being considered in the next generation of automotive catalytic converters because the very high surface area of nanoparticles could reduce the amount of platinum required.[20] However, some concerns have been raised due to experiments demonstrating that they will spontaneously combust if methane is mixed with the ambient air.[21] Ongoing research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France may resolve their true usefulness for catalytic applications.[22] Nanofiltration may come to be an important application, although future research must be careful to investigate possible toxicity.[23]


Nanotechnology has the potential to make construction faster, cheaper, safer, and more varied. Automation of nanotechnology construction can allow for the creation of structures from advanced homes to massive skyscrapers much more quickly and at much lower cost. In the near future,
Nanotechnology can be used to sense cracks in foundations of architecture and can send nanobots to repair them.[24][25]

Nanotechnology is an active research area that encompasses a number of disciplines such as electronics, bio-mechanics and coatings. These disciplines assist in the areas of civil engineering and construction materials.[24] If nanotechnology is implemented in the construction of homes and infrastructure, such structures will be stronger. If buildings are stronger, then fewer of them will require reconstruction and less waste will be produced.

Nanotechnology in construction involves using nanoparticles such as alumina and silica. Manufacturers are also investigating the methods of producing nano-cement. If cement with nano-size particles can be manufactured and processed, it will open up a large number of opportunities in the fields of ceramics, high strength composites and electronic applications.

Nanomaterials still have a high cost relative to conventional materials, meaning that they are not likely to feature in high-volume building materials. The day when this technology slashes the consumption of structural steel has not yet been contemplated.[26]


Much analysis of concrete is being done at the nano-level in order to understand its structure. Such analysis uses various techniques developed for study at that scale such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Focused Ion Beam (FIB). This has come about as a side benefit of the development of these instruments to study the nanoscale in general, but the understanding of the structure and behavior of concrete at the fundamental level is an important and very appropriate use of nanotechnology. One of the fundamental aspects of nanotechnology is its interdisciplinary nature and there has already been cross over research between the mechanical modeling of bones for medical engineering to that of concrete which has enabled the study of chloride diffusion in concrete (which causes corrosion of reinforcement). Concrete is, after all, a macro-material strongly influenced by its nano-properties and understanding it at this new level is yielding new avenues for improvement of strength, durability and monitoring as outlined in the following paragraphs

Silica (SiO2) is present in conventional concrete as part of the normal mix. However, one of the advancements made by the study of concrete at the nanoscale is that particle packing in concrete can be improved by using nano-silica which leads to a densifying of the micro and nanostructure resulting in improved mechanical properties. Nano-silica addition to cement based materials can also control the degradation of the fundamental C-S-H (calcium-silicatehydrate) reaction of concrete caused by calcium leaching in water as well as block water penetration and therefore lead to improvements in durability. Related to improved particle packing, high energy milling of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) clinker and standard sand, produces a greater particle size diminution with respect to conventional OPC and, as a result, the compressive strength of the refined material is also 3 to 6 times higher (at different ages).[25]


Steel is a widely available material that has a major role in the construction industry. The use of nanotechnology in steel helps to improve the physical properties of steel. Fatigue, or the structural failure of steel, is due to cyclic loading. Current steel designs are based on the reduction in the allowable stress, service life or regular inspection regime. This has a significant impact on the life-cycle costs of structures and limits the effective use of resources. Stress risers are responsible for initiating cracks from which fatigue failure results. The addition of copper nanoparticles reduces the surface un-evenness of steel, which then limits the number of stress risers and hence fatigue cracking. Advancements in this technology through the use of nanoparticles would lead to increased safety, less need for regular inspection, and more efficient materials free from fatigue issues for construction.[24]

Steel cables can be strengthened using carbon nanotubes. Stronger cables reduce the costs and period of construction, especially in suspension bridges, as the cables are run from end to end of the span.[24]

The use of vanadium and molybdenum nanoparticles improves the delayed fracture problems associated with high strength bolts. This reduces the effects of hydrogen embrittlement and improves steel micro-structure by reducing the effects of the inter-granular cementite phase.[24]

Welds and the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) adjacent to welds can be brittle and fail without warning when subjected to sudden dynamic loading. The addition of nanoparticles such as magnesium and calcium makes the HAZ grains finer in plate steel. This nanoparticle addition leads to an increase in weld strength. The increase in strength results in a smaller resource requirement because less material is required in order to keep stresses within allowable limits.[24]


Nanotechnology represents a major opportunity for the wood industry to develop new products, substantially reduce processing costs, and open new markets for biobased materials.

Wood is also composed of nanotubes or “nanofibrils”; namely, lignocellulosic (woody tissue) elements which are twice as strong as steel. Harvesting these nanofibrils would lead to a new paradigm in sustainable construction as both the production and use would be part of a renewable cycle. Some developers have speculated that building functionality onto lignocellulosic surfaces at the nanoscale could open new opportunities for such things as self-sterilizing surfaces, internal self-repair, and electronic lignocellulosic devices. These non-obtrusive active or passive nanoscale sensors would provide feedback on product performance and environmental conditions during service by monitoring structural loads, temperatures, moisture content, decay fungi, heat losses or gains, and loss of conditioned air. Currently, however, research in these areas appears limited.

Due to its natural origins, wood is leading the way in cross-disciplinary research and modelling techniques. BASF have developed a highly water repellent coating based on the actions of the lotus leaf as a result of the incorporation of silica and alumina nanoparticles and hydrophobic polymers. Mechanical studies of bones have been adapted to model wood, for instance in the drying process.[25]


Research is being carried out on the application of nanotechnology to glass, another important material in construction. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are used to coat glazing since it has sterilizing and anti-fouling properties. The particles catalyze powerful reactions that break down organic pollutants, volatile organic compounds and bacterial membranes. TiO2 is hydrophilic (attraction to water), which can attract rain drops that then wash off the dirt particles. Thus the introduction of nanotechnology in the Glass industry, incorporates the self-cleaning property of glass.[24]

Fire-protective glass is another application of nanotechnology. This is achieved by using a clear intumescent layer sandwiched between glass panels (an interlayer) formed of silica nanoparticles (SiO2), which turns into a rigid and opaque fire shield when heated. Most of glass in construction is on the exterior surface of buildings. So the light and heat entering the building through glass has to be prevented. The nanotechnology can provide a better solution to block light and heat coming through windows.[24]


Coatings is an important area in construction coatings are extensively use to paint the walls, doors, and windows. Coatings should provide a protective layer bound to the base material to produce a surface of the desired protective or functional properties. The coatings should have self healing capabilities through a process of “self-assembly”. Nanotechnology is being applied to paints to obtained the coatings having self healing capabilities and corrosion protection under insulation. Since these coatings are hydrophobic and repels water from the metal pipe and can also protect metal from salt water attack.[24]

Nanoparticle based systems can provide better adhesion and transparency. The TiO2 coating captures and breaks down organic and inorganic air pollutants by a photocatalytic process, which leads to putting roads to good environmental use.[24]

Fire Protection and detection[edit]

Fire resistance of steel structures is often provided by a coating produced by a spray-on-cementitious process. The nano-cement has the potential to create a new paradigm in this area of application because the resulting material can be used as a tough, durable, high temperature coating. It provides a good method of increasing fire resistance and this is a cheaper option than conventional insulation.[24]

Risks in construction[edit]

In building construction nanomaterials are widely used from self-cleaning windows to flexible solar panels to wi-fi blocking paint. The self-healing concrete, materials to block ultraviolet and infrared radiation, smog-eating coatings and light-emitting walls and ceilings are the new nanomaterials in construction. Nanotechnology is a promise for making the “smart home” a reality. Nanotech-enabled sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, and airborne toxins, which needs nanotech-based improved batteries. The building components will be intelligent and interactive since the sensor uses wireless components, it can collect the wide range of data.[24]

If nanosensors and nanomaterials become an everyday part of the buildings, as with smart homes, what are the consequences of these materials on human beings?[24]

  • Effect of nanoparticles on health and environment: Nanoparticles may also enter the body if building water supplies are filtered through commercially available nanofilters. Airborne and waterborne nanoparticles enter from building ventilation and wastewater systems.[24]
  • Effect of nanoparticles on societal issues: As sensors become commonplace, a loss of privacy and autonomy may result from users interacting with increasingly intelligent building components.[24]


  • ^ “Current Uses”. Nanotechnology cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
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  • ^ a b “Easton Integrates Nanotechnology into Baseball Bats”. Nanopedia. 2006-06-05. Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  • ^ “Nanocomposite Cushions Make Lighter Athletic Shoes”. AllBusiness. Retrieved 2009-11-02.[dead link]
  • ^ a b Shipbaugh, Calvin. “Offense-Defense Aspects of Nanotechnologies: A Forecast of Potential Milita…”
  • ^ Soutter, Will. “Nanotechnology in the Military”.
  • ^ a b c d e Altmann, Jürgen. “Military Uses of Nanotechnology: Perspectives and Concerns”.
  • ^ a b “Defence, Weapons and The Use Of Nanotechnology In Modern Combat Equipment and Warfare Systems”.
  • ^ In the new nanoweapons era, the United States and Britain are Third World countries
  • ^ An Interview on Nanoweapons Archived 2012-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
  • ^ Nano Weapons Join the Fight Against Cancer
  • ^ Number Five: The Case for Nanoweapons Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  • ^ Glenn, Jerome (February 2006). “Nanotechnology: Future military environmental health considerations”. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 73 (2): 128–137. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2005.06.010.
  • ^ Bird, Peter. “Entering the body – Societal Dynamics of Nanotechnology”. Archived from the original on 2014-09-30.
  • ^ “Guidelines for Safe Handling, Use and Disposal of Nanoparticles” (PDF).
  • ^ Press Release: American Elements Announces P-Mite Line of Platinum Nanoparticles for Catalyst Applications American Elements, October 3, 2007
  • ^ Platinum nanoparticles bring spontaneous ignition Archived 2010-09-10 at the Wayback Machine, April 25, 2005
  • ^ Electrocatalytic oxidation of methanol
  • ^ Hillie, Thembela and Mbhuti Hlophe. “Nanotechnology and the challenge of clean water.” November 2007: Volume 2.
  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mann, Surinder (31 October 2006). “Nanotechnology and Construction” (PDF). European Nanotechnology Gateway. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  • ^ a b c Feuer, Carl. “Nanotechnology and Construction”. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  • ^ “Nanotechnology in Construction”. Retrieved 23 April 2013.

External links[edit]

  • Overview of Nanotechnology Applications
  • Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies


For other uses, see Twinkie (disambiguation).

A Twinkie is an American snack cake, described as “golden sponge cake with a creamy filling”. It was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands. The brand is currently owned by Hostess Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWNK), having been formerly owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company as the second incarnation of Hostess Brands. During bankruptcy proceedings, Twinkie production was suspended on November 21, 2012, and resumed after an absence of at least ten months from American store shelves, becoming available again nationwide on July 15, 2013.[1][2]

Saputo Incorporated’s Vachon Inc., which owns the Canadian rights to the product and made them during their absence from the U.S. market,[3] produces Twinkies in Canada at a bakery in Montreal. Twinkies are also available in Mexican stores as “Submarinos” and “Twinkies” made by Marinela, and as “Tuinky” made by Wonder; both Marinela and Wonder are subsidiaries of Mexican bread company Grupo Bimbo.[4][5] In Egypt, Twinkies are produced under the company Edita. Twinkies are also available in the United Kingdom and Ireland under the Hostess brand name where they are sold in Sainsburys, Tesco, ASDA and B&M stores. Twinkies are produced and distributed by multiple commercial bakeries in China,[6] where Hostess does not own the brand.[7]


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Hostess bankruptcy
    • 1.2 Return of Twinkies to U.S. market
  • 2 Cultural references
    • 2.1 Television and film
    • 2.2 Twinkie defense
    • 2.3 Song lyrics
    • 2.4 Theological Twinkie
    • 2.5 Shelf life
    • 2.6 Twinkie diet
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links


Box of Hostess Twinkies by Saputo Incorporated (in production)

Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois[8] on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company.[9] Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie.[10] Ritchy Koph said he came up with the name when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for “Twinkle Toe Shoes.”[11] During World War II, bananas were rationed and the company was forced to switch to vanilla cream. This change proved popular, and banana-cream Twinkies were not widely re-introduced. The original flavor was occasionally found in limited-time promotions, but the company used vanilla cream for most Twinkies.[12] In 1988, Fruit and Cream Twinkies were introduced with a strawberry filling swirled into the cream. The product was soon dropped.[13] Vanilla’s dominance over banana flavoring would be challenged in 2005, following a month-long promotion of the movie King Kong. Hostess saw its Twinkie sales rise 20 percent during the promotion, and in 2007 restored the banana-cream Twinkie to its snack lineup.[14]

Hostess bankruptcy[edit]

On January 11, 2012,[15] parent company Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[11] Twinkie sales for the year, as of December 25, 2011[update], were 36 million packages, down almost 20% from a year earlier.[11] Hostess said customers had migrated to healthier foods.[11] On November 16, 2012, Hostess officially announced that it “will be winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities.” Bakery operations were suspended at all plants.[16]

Box of Hostess Twinkies by Hostess Brands

On November 19, 2012, Hostess and the Bakers Union agreed to mediation, delaying the shutdown for two days. On November 21, 2012, U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Drain approved Hostess’ request to shut down, temporarily ending Twinkie production in the United States.[17]

Return of Twinkies to U.S. market[edit]

On March 18, 2013, it was reported that Twinkies would return to store shelves in May of that year. Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co for $410 million.[18][19]
Twinkies returned to U.S. shelves on July 15, 2013.[20] Apollo subsequently sold Hostess for $2.3 billion.[21]

Before Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy, Twinkies were reduced in size. They now contain 135 kilocalories (560 kJ) and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 kilocalories (630 kJ) and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the 26 days of the original Twinkies.[22]

Cultural references[edit]

Television and film[edit]

  • In the 1979 Steve Martin comedy film The Jerk, Navon’s mother cooks up Navon’s favorite meal for his birthday: “tuna fish salad on white bread with mayonnaise, a Tab and a couple of Twinkies.”[1]
  • In the film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the titular duo use a Twinkie to lure Genghis Khan into the time-travelling phone booth [23].
  • The Twinkie became known worldwide in countries that did not sell the confection in 1984, due to a reference in the hit film Ghostbusters.[24] In the film, the character Egon Spengler describes a speculated level of psychokinetic energy and uses a regular Twinkie size to represent the normal level of such energy in New York City. He then says that based on a recent sample, the Twinkie representing New York would be over 35 feet (11 m) long and weigh approximately 600 pounds (270 kg), to which the character Winston Zeddemore replies, “That’s a big Twinkie.”[24]
  • In the 1988 blockbuster “Die Hard”, LAPD Sergeant Al Powell is seen buying Twinkies at a gas station, to which the attendant says “I thought you guys just ate donuts?”. Powell replies, claiming that they are for his pregnant wife. It is later revealed to be his favourite snack, to the point that he is able to list all the ingredients to John McClane, claiming they are “Just about everything a growing boy needs!”. He is also seen eating them in Die Hard 2.
  • In the film “Ghost Rider 2”, the antagonist of the movie (whose ability is to decay everything he touches) struggles to eat an apple because it rots until he grabs a Twinkie, which to his surprise, does not decay/expire.
  • In the film Hollow Man, Dr. Sebastian Caine says the following, when asked by a colleague how he solved the problem of creating a stable invisibility cell, “Oh, you know, coffee and Twinkies!” Later in the film, the invisible Dr. Caine is seen leisurely eating one whilst in bed.
  • In the film Zombieland, one of the protagonists, Tallahassee, has a craving for Twinkies and stops to acquire some from a crashed van, even with the threat of zombies roaming the countryside.
  • In the movie WALL-E, WALL-E gives his pet cockroach Twinkies, evidently still edible after humans have left Earth 700 years ago.
  • On the ABC show Castle, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) mentions having deep-fried Twinkies while reminiscing with his ex-wife Meredith (Darby Stanchfield).
  • In the film Mortal Engines, Hester Shaw eats a Twinkie that is 1000 years old. She offers one to Tom Natsworthy, who questions it due to its extreme age. The Tw and s in the wrapper has been rubbed off and Hester refers to it as an “Inkie”.
  • In the film Sausage Party, there was a homosexual Twinkie named Twink.
  • In 2018 movie The Predator one of the protagonists, Traeger, explains Predators’ behavior comparing the humanity to Twinkies straight after Hostess bankruptcy: the extraterrestrial Predators allegedly want to obtain human DNA before the imminent end of humanity the same way as people wanted to get Twinkies while they still last.

Twinkie defense[edit]

Main article: Twinkie defense

“Twinkie defense” is a derisive label for an improbable legal defense. It is not a recognized legal defense in jurisprudence, but a catchall term coined by reporters during their coverage of the trial of defendant Dan White for the murders of San Francisco city Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. White’s defense was that he suffered diminished capacity as a result of his depression. His change in diet from healthful food to Twinkies and other sugary foods was said to be a symptom of depression. Contrary to common belief, White’s attorneys did not argue that the Twinkies were the cause of White’s actions, but that their consumption was symptomatic of his underlying depression.[10]

Song lyrics[edit]

John Fogerty’s 2004 album Deja Vu All Over Again includes the satirical, somewhat world-weary song Nobody’s Here Anymore, which ponders people’s infatuation with modern technology and its ever more sophisticated consumer devices. “He got a stash of Twinkies up in his room” is a line lamenting the self-absorption and social isolation of the protagonist of the song’s first verse. Twinkies are also one of the products mentioned in “Junk Food Junkie”, a Top 40 1976 novelty song by Larry Groce. “Habits (Stay High)”, a 2013 song by Swedish singer Tove Lo, mentions Twinkies in the line “I get home, I got the munchies / Binge on all my Twinkies / Throw up in the tub / Then I go to sleep.”[25] In an interview the singer confessed she had thought that “twinkie” was a synonym for “cookie” and that Hostess had sent her a sample of the product after the success of the song.[26]

Theological Twinkie[edit]

Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), used the expression “theological Twinkie” at the Church’s General Conference in April 1998, in reference to teaching methods that may be pleasing or entertaining, but lack sufficient spiritual and doctrinal substance. In his words: “Are we really nurturing our youth and our new members in a way that will sustain them when the stresses of life appear? Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie—spiritually empty calories?” [27]

Shelf life[edit]

A common urban legend claims that Twinkies have an infinite shelf life, and can last unspoiled for a relatively long time of ten, fifty, or one hundred years due to the chemicals used in their production.[28] A homage to the unlimited shelf life urban myth appears in the film WALL-E, where the title character’s pet cockroach is shown eating its way into the cream filling at one end and emerging out the other, none the worse for wear.[29]

The third episode of Family Guy’s second season entitled “Da Boom” follows the Griffin family after a nuclear holocaust occurs, due to Y2K on New Year’s Eve. The family then travels in search of food, and eventually decide to establish a town around a Twinkie factory.

Another homage to the Twinkie’s shelf life myth was shown in the 2016 animated film Sausage Party, where a Twinkie is amongst the “Non-Perishable” foods.

The 2012 Super Bowl Chevy Silverado Apocalypse commercial also gives a nod to Twinkie’s reputed durability.[30]

In reality, Twinkies are on the shelf for a short time; a company executive told The New York Times in 2000 that the “Twinkie is on the shelf no more than 7 to 10 days.”[31] The maximum shelf life was reported to have been 26 days, until the addition of stronger preservatives made beginning in 2012 increased it to 45 days.[32] The 2009 apocalypse horror-comedy Zombieland, which features a search for the last remaining Twinkies in a running gag, acknowledges this by having the character Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson) explain that Twinkies do, in fact, have an expiration date. In the second episode of The Umbrella Academy (TV series), the character called number 5 (player by Aidan Gallagher) states that the infinite shelf life is a lie.

Twinkie diet[edit]

In 2010, Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a “convenience store” diet consisting mainly[citation needed] of Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos in an attempt to demonstrate to his students “…that in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most, not the nutritional value of the food.” He lost 27 pounds (12 kg) over a two-month period, returning his body mass index (BMI) to within normal range.[33][34] In addition to Twinkies, Haub ate Little Debbie snack cakes, cereals, cookies, brownies, Doritos, Oreos and other kinds of high calorie, low-nutrition foods that are usually found at convenience stores. However, despite calling it the “Twinkie diet”, Haub also consumed a multivitamin, a protein shake and fresh vegetables along with the Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos.[35] Some protein shakes contain 80 grams protein per serving,[36] almost equivalent to eating three 6-oz steaks per day.[37] Besides the protein shake and multivitamin, Haub also ate nutritionally dense whole milk, carrots, and vitamin fortified cereal.[38] This contradicts representations by other media outlets stating that Haub “only” ate junk food.[39]

See also[edit]

  • Food portal
  • Banana bread
  • Chocodile Twinkie
  • Deep-fried Mars Bar
  • Ding Dong
  • Ho Hos
  • Ladyfinger (biscuit)
  • List of deep fried food
  • Mars bar
  • Sno Balls
  • Twinkie the Kid
  • Zingers


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Further reading[edit]

  • Ettlinger, Steve (2007). Twinkie Deconstructed. ISBN 978-0452289284.

External links[edit]

  • Products Page on Hostess’ website
  • The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project
  • Twinkies at 75: munch ’em, fry ’em, save ’em for years, The Christian Science Monitor
  • Weird Al Yankovic making a Twinkie wiener sandwich at YouTube
  • Zombieland

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