1980s Snacks We’re Not Sure People Would Eat Today
It’s hard to believe that the 1980s happened such a long time ago. But ’80s babies are in their thirties right now. That means it’s been a long time since we’ve come face to face with some of our favorite childhood snacks.
For those of us who think fondly of childhood, there was nothing wrong with snacks from the 1980s. But in reality, they weren’t all that great — at least, nutritionally. Not everyone was privy to the dangers of high fructose corn syrup. And pretty much every 1980s snack contained a boatload of sugar. That likely explains why things tasted so delicious.
Some 1980s snacks went out of style for other reasons, though.
Perhaps they just weren’t popular. Other 1980s snacks may have cost too much to make or were only meant to be available for a limited time.
Consequently, not every food item was a winner. Regardless, it’s still amazing to revisit what hit the shelves back then and how some of these products were once considered good ideas.
While they’ll always have a place in our hearts, these snacks probably don’t deserve a place in our stomachs. it’s a good thing that they no longer have a place in our stomachs.
Here’s a sampling of the most interesting 1980s snacks.
1. Hostess Pudding Pies
Ever have a moment when you want pudding and a pie at the same time? Hostess Pudding Pies were more or less the thing to snack on in the ’80s.
Their signature flavor had chocolate on the outside with vanilla pudding stuffed inside.
That doesn’t necessarily sound bad. The tagline was a strange one, though:
“They make real pudding taste real special.”
I guess it had to be shoved into a pastry to be truly appreciated.
This item could have served as a weapon if crafted the right way.
(And those of you who know Push Pops know what I mean when I say they can easily be formed into pointy knives.) That’s not all, either.
All that sugar?
Seriously, eating one was just a dentist visit waiting to happen.
3. Hubba Bubba Soda
This is definitely a snack-appropriate beverage. But you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that it didn’t survive through the ’90s.
Created in 1987, Hubba Bubba Soda was exactly that.
It was soda that tasted like bubblegum. Business Insider also reports that the soda was pink in color, which makes sense.
I never got a chance to try this one out…
but I’m betting that it tasted very similar to a toothache.
4. Dr. Pepper Gum
Okay, these were cool. For a hot minute, or in stolen moments between classes, you could quench your thirst without a soda machine or needing to store a drink in a fridge.
This Dr. Pepper invention could give you a sugar boost, too.
The most awesome part of this gum was the spicy cola coming out of the gum’s liquid center.
5. Funny Feet
Okay, this ice cream takes the prize for odd shapes. These treats were called Funny Feet, and they came shaped like… misshapen feet.
Sure, these would look pretty amazing on Instagram today.
(Especially since the foot is a pretty light pink color). But it’s still maybe the strangest of 1980s snacks.
You’ll probably remember them if you used to hang around the ice cream truck after school.
And interestingly enough, this ’80s treat was re-released in 2013, according to FoodBev Media.
And, on the topic of fake bacon… It’s not that Sizzlean was fake.
It’s just that most of the world’s population doesn’t want to snack on healthy bacon.
They want regular bacon, grease and all. This product doesn’t even look appetizing in the commercial.
But if you’re a kid who really wanted to fry up bacon throughout the day, your parents might feel better purchasing Sizzlean.
It popped during the late ’70s and early ’80s, according to Culinary Lore.
7. Fat Frog
One look at this Good Humor product might send you into a nostalgia spiral. But, think about it. Sure, it’s just ice cream, but it’s shaped like a frog.
I’m not saying that we necessarily wanted to eat all of the things our ice cream was shaped as.
But frogs are one of the least appetizing things out there. The treat had green ice cream with Reese’s Pieces eyes that almost look like they’re glowing.
There’s even an ’80s-appreciation Facebook page for the treat.
Are you hungry even though it’s not mealtime? Heat up a Chefwich. Yes, marketers advertised these snacks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
But Chefwiches seem like an unappetizing, doughy version of a Hot Pocket — yet smaller.
Would you even get full? The only time you’d want to eat one of these is at 2 p.m. when you really just need to power through until quitting time.
Even the packaging seems bland and uninspiring.
You can catch a glimpse of it in the top-left of this 1988 Orlando Sentinel ad.
People loved them, but they were pretty strange. You might remember these drinks from the ’90s, but they actually came out in the ’80s.
According to HuffPost, they launched in 1985.
And they hit the market with a splash. Not only did each Squeez-It have a flavor, but they had a name.
And since they were a drink, you were more or less killing them with every gulp.
Good thing they were discontinued in 2001.
10. Dixies Snack Crackers
Back in the early 1980s, Nabisco made a snack cracker like no other. They called them Dixies Snack Crackers, but they really should have called them Dixies Chicken Crackers.
That’s because they were actually shaped like chicken drumsticks.
It’s cute, at first. But it’s also a little strange. Because a shape like this doesn’t really have a strong audience.
Either you’re at home eating a box of chicken drumstick crackers alone…
Or you’re awkwardly serving them up at a party, hoping they go with the cheese.
11. Minute Maid Fruit Juice
These are long forgotten by most. But, they shouldn’t be. If you think, “That just looks like a frozen wedge of orange juice,” you’re not all the way wrong.
Introduced in 1986, according to this Coca-Cola Annual Report, Minute Maid Fruit Juices were not the worst.
However, anyone could easily make them with the right mold. Even though juice is often considered healthy and nutritious, it contains a bunch of sugar.
Might as well just get ice cream.
Yeah, we went there. But hey, are we wrong?
12. Micro Magic Milkshakes
Want to make a milkshake? “Pop open a microwave,” said no one ever. That’s actually not all the way true. Some executive must have uttered those words at least once.
The whole premise behind Micro Magic is that it’s completely microwaveable.
But the concept itself is so strange. No wonder the milkshakes didn’t last — even if they did “get raves” in this 1989 newspaper.
Trust me, I watched the commercial around three times and still can’t figure it out.
13. Five Alive
The product makes sense, but it’s also very easy to make fun of. Five Alive figured, in 1979, why not combine five fruit juices to make one mega-juice?
Well, probably because people have individual tastes and don’t want their tastebuds inundated with five totally different flavors at once.
Sounds like a lot, right? That seems like a pretty basic convention.
Five Alive believed in this idea so much so that they came out with a second flavor in 1982, according to Funding Universe’s history on the company.
14. Care Bear Waffles
A waffle makes for an excellent snack, especially if you go all out with butter and syrup. But these just look a little horrific. This ’80s product took a normal waffle and made it fit for a Care Bear.
We’re referring to the 1985 commercial.
It featured people wearing unconvincing, downright frightening Care Bear costumes, promised that there’s a bear hug in every bite.
We guess that’s appealing…?
The Care Bears are great, but so are standard waffles. It’s like the company took something good and made it less nutritious and slightly horrifying.
While the cereal wasn’t nearly as popular as the show, just looking at the box tastes like being kid.
Beyond being a fun fruity breakfast treat, the boxes, which hit shelves in 1983 and were advertised during all your childhood shows, included a glow-in-the-dark pack of stickers.
16. Quisp Cereal
Cereal aficionados ranked this sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal highly. Apparently, this one from the Quaker Oats Company the greatest of all time.
According to ME TV, Quisp Cereal edged out everything, including Frosted Flakes.
Also, we were surprised to learn it still exists! Even if your own kids might prefer something else, you can easily reboot your nostalgia.
17. Fruit Wrinkles
We think the marketing was truly flawed when someone designed this snack to look like wrinkled fruit.
Yes, that is the flavor. But it would be a lie to say anyone was shocked that they flopped shortly after their release in 1986.
Anything that calls itself wrinkly just doesn’t seem appetizing. Sorry Fruit Wrinkles, you have the worst name of all 1980s snacks.
You also might be more familiar with a similar product, called Fruit Roll-Ups.
Some things are better left in the past.
And, honestly, it would be hard to imagine any parent allowing their child to treat themselves to a Jolly Rancher Fire Stix.
Unlike Sour Patch Kids or Red Hots, these candies could literally be used as a punishment.
First, they’d set your mouth on fire. Or if you sucked on them long enough, they’d be sharp enough to prick your tongue.
19. Bacon Cheddar Cheetos
Bacon Cheddar Cheetos were available for a limited time in the early ’80s. But why? Think about it.
It took McDonald’s years to put cheese and bacon on their French fries.
But that’s where such a flavor concoction belongs. It goes together like peanut butter and jelly (which is something, however, we wouldn’t want on our fries).
Cheetos, however, have a distinct taste.
Consequently, adding mock bacon to them is almost an insult to Chester Cheetah himself. To their benefit, at least they’re not Hot Bacon Cheddar Cheetos. You can still get these online, if you are really craving them.
20. Oreo Big Stuf
Is this what dreams are made of? The Oreo Big Stuf was “an oversized cookie sold as an on-the-run snack.” For anyone who can eat a sleeve of Oreos one sitting, this sounds like heaven. Also, this commercial is just wild.
It was roughly the size of a hockey puck.
According to Food52, it was a whooping three inches in diameter, and it had 316 calories, with 13 grams of fat. They were individually packaged, hence the “grab-and-go” appeal.
Nabisco discontinued Oreo Big Stuf in 1991.
Food52 reached out to a Nabisco representative, and they didn’t really have an answer as to why. Sandie Glass over at Fast Company theorizes that a variety of factors played a part in its demise, including the reported 20 minutes it took to eat.
21. Nintendo Cereal System
The ’80s was full of character-branded cereals, but the Nintendo Cereal System was unique.
The box featured two different cereals
One side was Fruity, AKA the Super Mario side, and the other side was Berry, AKA the Zelda side. Is there truly a difference between “fruity” and “berry” flavors? We aren’t sure, but consider us curious.
22. Keebler Magic Middles
Yes, they have popped up on shelves every now and again in a much smaller (and less gooey) form, but nothing can ever beat the original.
Shortbread stuffed with either chocolate or peanut butter?
Yes please. People loved the cookies so much they are still actively campaigning on Facebook to get them back. Hear their cries, Keebler! Bring these 1980s snacks back!
This delicious dipping snacks first hit shelves in 1988.
Cookies with a tiny tub of dipping icing was the best.
Unfortunately, the cookies disappeared off shelves in the late ’90s. You can still get them if you live in Canada, but American Dunk-a-roo fans are out of luck.
24. Keebler’s Tato Skins
When you think of snacks, do you think of potato skins? Keebler sure thought you did back in 1985, according to Food52.
And sure, the word snack is pretty loose — you can snack on anything throughout the day.
But you may not be tempted to snack on these two-sided chips. They just look a bit odd.
Listen — you don’t mess with potato chips.
They’re good as-is and don’t need a weird and polarizing gimmick to work.