It’s hard to look back on the foods of our youth without getting a little sentimental. While you can always fix yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off just like Mom used to make, there are plenty of snacks that simply don’t exist anymore, including some that we bet you completely forgot existed.
Nostalgia for the foods of the 1990s is at an all-time high right now, as millennials look back and remember those heady pre-9/11 days when 401(k)s were just a glint in their eye; but all generations feel a nostalgia for their youth to some extent. Even if you grew up in the ‘60s and don’t feel any nostalgia for, say, Mixed Vegetable Jell-O for Salads, you might still be able to conjure up the taste of the long-vanished Nestle Triple Decker Bar in your mind.
That’s why we took a deep dive into long-vanished sweet and savory snacks from the 60s through the 90s and tracked down ones that had loyal followings in their time but have been all but forgotten. But even though you may not be able to find these products on grocery and candy store shelves any more, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still exist in our memories.
The Big Stuf Oreo was an absolute beast, to put it bluntly. Introduced in 1984 and sold individually or in boxes of 10, each one was about 10 times the size of a regular Oreo, or seemed that way at least. Each one contained 316 calories and 13 grams of fat, and was way too big for a kid to eat in one sitting (or to dunk into a glass of milk). It never really found its footing, and was discontinued in 1991.
In 1992, Butterfinger rocked every kid’s sweet tooth with the introduction of Butterfinger BB’s, which were basically entire Butterfinger bars shrunk down into little ball format. The low melting point of the chocolate meant that each time you’d reach into the bag your hands would come out covered in chocolate, but no one seemed to care. They were discontinued in 2006. After much uproar, Butterfinger Bites were introduced in 2009, but they’re just not the same. Thankfully Butterfinger’s new peanut butter cups are pretty good.
For a brief, shining moment from 1990 to 1993, there existed a magical food known as Cheetos Paws. Sure, they were just Cheetos in the shape of a paw, but there was something about the design that seemingly made them super-cheesy, and therefore a must-have. It doesn’t look like they’ll be coming back, but you can always sign the petition.
There was a time when Twix bars were available in a wide range of flavors, including Chocolate Fudge, Triple Chocolate, and Peanut Butter (which, thankfully, made a comeback last year), but there’s one that we really wish was still around: Cookies-n-Creme. Released in 1990, these featured an insanely tasty cookies and crème filling in place of caramel. Sadly, like the Chocolate Fudge Twix that were released simultaneously, these only stuck around for a few years.
Native American-themed products and TV shows were all the rage in the ’60s, and Quaker dipped their toes in the pool by releasing Dippy Canoes in a big metal tin (Laura Scudder’s released their own Native American-inspired corn chip, Wampum). Some die-hards still maintain that these canoe-shaped corn chips tasted better than Fritos.
Available in a few flavors, including Jalapeño Cheddar and Zesty Ranch, these were Doritos that were puffed up to create a hollow center. Bite-size and supremely crunchy, they probably would have done better if they were introduced as a product completely separate from beloved Doritos, but the early 2000s shined just a little bit brighter because of them.
An offshoot of Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit Wrinkles were little fruit snacks that vaguely resembled wrinkled up fruit. These were released in 1986 and sadly didn’t stick around for too long.
Introduced in 1987, Bar None was delicious: milk chocolate-flavored wafers filled with chocolate cream, covered with crushed peanuts, and then covered with a coating of milk chocolate, they really did “tame the chocolate beasty,” as the great motto urged. They were perfect just as they were, but in 1992 Hershey’s added caramel into the mix and split them up into two bars, possibly in a misguided attempt to one-up Twix. By 1997, they’d disappeared from shelves entirely, although we hear you can still track them down in Mexico.
Between 1969 and 1993, Jell-O sold a product that was truly Space Age: one packet of powder that, when mixed with water and chilled, resulted in a dessert with three distinct layers: Jell-O on the bottom, mousse in the middle, and creamy topping on top. While it’s no longer available, Kraft posted the recipe for a reasonable facsimile online.
These things were awesome. Shortbread cookie on the outside, fudgy chocolate on the inside. We don’t even know how they were made, but they turned out delicious. While their popularity hit its peak in the late 1980s, these were still going strong among kids in the '90s, and were quite possibly the greatest type of cookie to dunk into milk (seriously, how did they get the chocolate in there?). They met a quiet end, but the Facebook page dedicated to bringing them back has nearly 1,500 likes.
Danish Go-Rounds were introduced by Kellogg’s in 1968, and were similar to Pop-Tarts, except instead of being rectangular they were more spiral-shaped. They were quite popular, but they had one fatal flaw: They broke too easily. So in 1976 they were replaced by Danish Rings, which were flakier and oval-shaped. Sadly, those never quite caught on (even though they sound pretty great) and they were discontinued in 1980.
A peanut spread in flavors like cinnamon, banana, vanilla, and chocolate, Koogle was released by Kraft in 1971 and became an immediate hit among children due to its wacky commercials, which featured an oversized jar-shaped puppet with googly eyes and froglike arms and legs. Also, banana-flavored peanut butter? Why isn’t this still around?!
Shaped like slices of Swiss cheese, complete with holes, these crackers (introduced in the 1980s) were salty, cheesy, and covered with just the right amount of cheese powder. They didn’t taste exactly like Swiss cheese (not by a long shot), but we’d put these up against Cheez-Its any day. You can still find an approximation of them in Canada, but they’re just not the same.
From the 60s up until the early 70s, Nestle produced the Triple Decker, which was made up of three individual chocolate layers: dark, white, and milk. If you remember this from your childhood, consider yourself lucky, because it’s sorely missed.
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If you had the opportunity to experience a PB Max during the brief, shining window when they were available in the early 90s, we bet you still look back on the big, square candy bar fondly. The PB Max was made up of a whole wheat cookie topped with peanut butter and oats and enrobed in milk chocolate, and it was undeniably delicious. But it wasn’t discontinued because of poor sales; it was taken off of shelves because the Mars family reportedly wasn’t a fan of peanut butter. Shame on you, Mars.
In 1992, Planters rolled out a line of peanut-shaped snacks called P.B. Crisps. With a peanut-flavored, corn-based shell on the outside and creamy peanut butter on the inside, there wasn’t much not to like about these. They didn’t hang around for too long, but we remember them fondly.
One of the most hippie-inspired food products to ever hit store shelves, Screaming Yellow Zonkers are sugar-glazed popcorn, but it was more well-known for its packaging. The first food item to be packaged in black when it was introduced in the late 1960s, Screaming Yellow Zonkers’ box is still notable today. The front was relatively simple, but all the other sides were loaded with absurdist copy clearly meant to appeal to youth culture. For example, a note on the bottom of the box read, “Open the top, and turn the box upside down. If the Zonkers fall out, this is the bottom. If they fall up, this is the top. If nothing happens, this box is empty.” Far out.
The first Sunkist fruit snacks hit the market in 1987, in the shape of little pellets called Fun Fruits. They came in cherry, orange, grape, and strawberry flavors, and by 1988 they’d already expanded to dinosaur shapes.
We all know Bugles, the cone-shaped corn snack from General Mills. But if you were around in the 60s, you might remember that Bugles were actually introduced in 1966 with two additional counterparts: Whistles and Daisys. The whistles were tube shaped, and Daisys were flower-shaped. Sadly, neither stuck around for very long, but Bugles endure. Just one of many fascinating facts about popular snacks!
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