Head-to-Head Snack Off: Little Debbie vs. Hostess

I simply adore packaged snack cakes. Condensing all the deliciousness of an entire frosted cake into a handheld, on-the-go treat is a genius idea. Despite the fact that I’ve been enjoying them my entire life, I only recently realized that the two major snack cake companies (Hostess and Little Debbie) have eerily similar offerings. Both brands are essentially making the exact same products but with different names and packaging. This led me to wonder: Are Little Debbie and Hostess producing the same products under different branding? And, more importantly, was one better than the other? I needed to find out.

A Disclaimer

Before I discuss the results of my investigation, I must admit my preexisting and lifelong bias. I am an absolute Little Debbie Swiss Roll fanatic. I could eat 50 to 100 of them in one sitting. I think they are absolutely perfect in every way. That being said, I am always ready to be wrong. I knew I had to be open to the possibility that Swiss Rolls aren’t as good as Hostess HoHos. Or maybe they taste exactly the same and I had been practicing intense brand loyalty for absolutely no reason. I was emotionally prepared for whatever results I would find.

Some History

According to their respective websites, both brands originated in the 1910s (1913 Little Debbie, 1919 Hostess). In the 1930s, both companies launched their first iconic products: the Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie and Hostess’ Twinkies. Since then, the companies have been going head to head with their products.

The Test

Little Debbie and Hostess sell mini doughnuts that look identical. Glazed cherry and apple hand pies are staples of both brands. In search of mini muffins? You can get essentially the same ones from either company! While both have a few signature items (like the Hostess Twinkie or Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie), most of their products align. While I did my own research and tasting at home, I knew it wasn’t enough. I needed a larger sample size.

This lead me to my head-to-head, blindfolded taste test. To help me determine the difference between Little Debbie and Hostess, I enlisted some fellow Mythical employees to participate. Gwynedd Stuart (Sporked managing editor), Jasmine Williams (Mythical people and culture coordinator), Naajia Shukri (Sporked editorial assistant), and Giant Deborah herself, Chase Hilt, joined me to try to decipher the differences. I blindfolded each person, brought them into the Sporked conference room, and sat them in front of plates of paired products: Swiss Rolls with HoHos and Honey Buns from both companies. We also provided Hostess Cupcakes on their own because our team was unable to locate their Little Debbie counterparts (a frustratingly common problem we ran into with both brands).

The Results

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls vs. Hostess HoHos

Packaging is the first difference between these two products. Swiss Rolls come in pairs and sit on a tiny piece of thin, laminated cardboard. HoHos are individually wrapped. The chocolate that coats a HoHo is much darker than the Swiss Roll chocolate. An individual Swiss Roll is bigger than a HoHo. The creams and overall textures were similar, but Swiss Rolls were much moister.

Winner: Little Debbie Swiss Rolls

Little Debbie Honey Bun vs. Hostess Honey Bun

The size difference between these two products is wild. The Little Debbie Honey Bun looks like a little pastry and the Hostess Honey Bun looks like a very delicious pool float. What’s even wilder is the taste difference. The Little Debbie Honey Bun is sweet, light, and airy. The Hostess was dense and flavorless.

Winner: Little Debbie Honey Bun

Hostess Cupcake

Hostess wins by default, but, to be fair, the Hostess Cupcake is the most delicious Hostess product and stood a good chance of winning, even in a head-to-head showdown. I did, however, make the tasters try it and determine if it was Hostess or Little Debbie. People instantly knew this was a Hostess product because it has a distinct “Hostess taste,” according to Chase.

Winner: Hostess Cupcake

Conclusion

While they are all the same conceptually, Hostess and Little Debbie sell radically different products. And, in the end, every single taster (myself included) determined that Little Debbie is the snack cake queen because she has superior taste and much better texture. May we kneel before her sugary throne!

These Are the 7 Best Pop-Tart Flavors

Pop-Tarts make me ask lots of questions. Are these a breakfast or a dessert? Should they be eaten toasted or untoasted? And most importantly, what is the crust part of the Pop-Tart called? While this taste test brought me no answers to these questions, it did help me determine the best Pop-Tart flavors.


About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • Quality content but I feel like it is a missed opportunity. A head to head comparison of all similar products would have been Pulitzer material

    Reply
    • I am available to freelance to provide this content btw

      Reply
  • I never thought I’d say this but little Debbie has outcooked hostess as Hostess was taken over by someone else it now tastes drab and rubbery compared to Little Debbie’s

    Reply