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Bring on the Nostalgia, Part 2: More Retro Snacks You May Have Forgotten

I don’t know about you, but I miss the 90s. For all its ridiculousness (and for basically being a more “PC” version of the 80s), it did manage to bring us some truly fantastic forms of entertainment. I was only a wee lad for the majority of it, but that doesn’t stop me from looking back fondly and remembering some of the highlights. From innovative new products and foods to outlandishly fun (and incessantly family-friendly) televised content, the decade left its mark on my very soul—for better or for worse, I suppose.

The way I see it, there was only one problem with the 90s: it ended. Hey, don’t blame me! It had to end eventually. And like so many in my generation, I’m left with the mere recollections of such a fun and fancy free era to sustain my good humor in the face of an underwhelming adulthood. Yikes, that sounds a little bit bleaker than I intended. I should probably stop reminiscing, but then again, I do enjoy my nostalgic ramblings.

Admittedly, there are probably a million and one colorful topics I could address when it comes to those ten fantastic years, but here’s a few particulars that some people may have forgotten about (and since I’m in a gluttonous mood, they’re all food related):

Pop Qwiz Popcorn

Pop Qwiz Popcorn

Pop Qwiz Popcorn

Let’s face it—plain old yellowish butter is just plain gross! Never mind this product’s juvenile misspelling, because you don’t know what fun is until you’ve tried to guess which color your popcorn’s going to be when it’s done popping. And you don’t know what wrath is until your mom sees the permanent, multicolored butter stains left on your clothing. Oh, how I miss the brightly colored afternoons of my youth! You’d think a product that’s both vibrant and edible would be a mainstay for sure, but sadly, this vivid offering from the fine folks at Pop Secret never quite gained the momentum it should have. I still fail to see why. With a spokesperson this cool, it deserved a much longer stay in supermarkets.

Bubba: Cheeto Tribute

Cheetos Paws (for this post, the part of Chester is played by Bubba)

Cheetos Paws

Speaking of stains, when the Frito-Lay company decided in 1991 that it was time to mix things up with their Cheetos brand by introducing “Paws,” they couldn’t possibly have come up with a more wardrobe-tarnishing concoction of cheesy goodness. Also, they couldn’t possibly have offset the balance of processed cheese to actual chip any further. These things were lethal—lethally delicious! They were the third official variation of the Cheetos snack to be released in the United States, after “Puffs” and “Bacon & Cheese.” To date, there have been a total of thirty-two variations available in stores. Thirty-two!

Now, I’m something of a Cheetos connoisseur, which means I did my fair share of research for this post. So, allow me to put things into perspective. The wunderkind curls were first introduced in 1948 to a cheese-deprived, post-war America (and Canada). They remained the sole version of the snack until the “Puffs” iteration came about in ’71. The “Bacon & Cheese” hit the shelves at some point in the early 80s, and the “Paws” graced us with their deliciousness in ’91. In summation, that’s four types of Cheetos released in just over forty years, three of which were sequel snacks. That’s an appreciable level of output for any purveyor of cheese-based products.

Those skilled at math will have already figured out that the remaining twenty-nine variations were released between 1991 and the present. It would certainly seem as though “Paws” were an unlikely catalyst for a new age of cheesiness! The company’s output literally went from roughly one type of Cheeto per decade to roughly one per year—on average. Now that’s dangerously cheesy!

Doritos 3D

Doritos 3D

Doritos 3D

Capping off the 90s in true gimmicky fashion were Doritos 3D! Like the Cheetos brand, Doritos has never been a stranger to experimentation, and the design of this “special release” chip proves it—sort of. Admittedly, it was somewhat lazy on their part to just fill the chips with air and call it a selling point, but that doesn’t mean the end result wasn’t to die for. While this multidimensional version of the titular tortilla chip was by no means one of the company’s more imaginative efforts, what it lacked in ingenuity it made up for in sheer flavorfuliciousness (shut up, it’s a word)! In fact, with flavors like “Zesty Ranch” and “Texas Paprika” to liven the taste buds, how could anyone not have loved Doritos 3D?!

Well, apparently it wasn’t too difficult. The puffy chip’s life on the shelves was cut short rather prematurely, but with “3D” now being such a trendy topic, I’m hoping to witness a miraculous resurrection of this Doritos experiment! Rumor has it that they’re still available in Mexico, but I haven’t decided whether they’re worth the gas money (or the potential health risk).

All in all, it’s not hard to see why products of this sort were so short-lived. People’s tastes will inevitably mature, leaving such novel snacks behind. In ideal cases, the purveyors of these and other innovative foods would learn from their mistakes, correct them, and re-release future iterations of them, but I’m not sure I’ll be seeing these particular products anytime in the near future. After all, it was the 90s!

What about you? What do you think reduced the shelf-life of the aforementioned snacks? What are some other 90s foods (or products, programs, etc.) that you were sorry to see disappear?

Don’t forget to check out part one, part three, and part four for more nostalgia while you’re here. Also, the Pop Qwiz Popcorn and Doritos 3D pictures are from Retro Junk, where you’ll find more forgotten favorites from past eras!



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. Jill Tooley

    JOE! I totally remember all of these snacks, so you’re not alone. My mom never let us get the multicolored popcorn, but my bro and I always begged for it when we saw it. Remember Heinz’s green and pink ketchup? That was another failed idea…it seems like they automatically assumed that 80s/90s kids would go nuts for anything that was brightly-colored. Although, that may have been the early 00s…who can keep track anymore?

    Cheetos Paws were amazing. I liked the Xs and Os, too, but the Paws always had the most cheesy goodness. Do you remember the commercials? I think Chester the Cheetah was spraying the Cheetos with extra cheese out of a hose or something…does that sound familiar? Speaking of retro stuff, did you know that we have some incredible 90s-inspired products on our site? I freaked when I saw these for the first time:

    Silly Putty
    Slap Bracelets
    Retro Lunch Boxes

    Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, awesome post. Thanks for the trip back in time :)

    • Juliette

      I think I missed the green and pink ketchup. It’s probably a good thing that I did.

      • Jill Tooley

        It was pretty terrible. We never bought it because I think we were too old for that kind of a gimmick at the time…but I remember going to a friend’s house and using the green variety. Green goo on your food is somewhat disturbing, to say the least!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      You’re welcome! I hadn’t come across those 90s items on the site, but that’s amazing! I originally planned on mentioning slap-bracelets in this post before I decided to make it entirely snack-related.

      Wow, I don’t remember there being green and pink ketchup available in stores. I’m not a big ketchup guy though. I’m all about the mustard.

      “Put a little mustard on that mustard.” ;)

  2. Juliette

    Wow. I’d forgotten all about colored popcorn. I can’t even count how many of those my lil brother and I went through.

    How about Bubble Tape? Do they still make that? (I can’t remember the last time I saw any so I’m not sure)

    • Jill Tooley

      I loved Bubble Tape! I think they do still make that. We always bought Big League Chew, too. And Razzles, “the candy that’s also a gum,” which they also still sell in some obscure stores.

      • Juliette

        Gotta love the Big League Chew. And Fruit Rollups and Gushers! I remember loving the days when I found a Fruit Rollup in my lunchbox.

        • Joseph Giorgi

          They definitely still make Bubble Tape! And I definitely still buy it from time to time when the mood strikes me. :)

  3. Vernon

    What about Big League Chew, I used to love those commercials!!!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I LOVED Big League Chew! I don’t really remember the commercials, but I know it’s still around—I see it in stores and gas stations once in a while. I haven’t had it in years though. I should pick some up.

  4. Cybernetic SAM

    aww nothing say the 90’s like a crisp bag of doritos and a pepsi.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      …if they’re Doritos 3D, that is! People could easily still have regular Doritos with a Pepsi anytime they want.

      • Ellen

        Unless its Crystal Pepsi! Anyone remember that one??

        • Jill Tooley

          I LOVED Crystal Pepsi! I think it’s time for them to finally bring it back…I’d buy it for sure. :)

  5. Cybernetic SAM

    Also anyone remember Bugles? Do they still make those?

    • JPorretto

      Yes, and they are awesome.

    • Juliette

      They do! They tend to go fast when our snack machine is restocked with them here at the office. :)

    • LK

      YA!!!!

  6. Bret Bonnet

    Great post Joe!

    If we’re kicking things back and going all 90s style on this blog post; a few things are missing for this post and the comments above:

    – Crystal Clear Pepsi
    – Teddy Grahams
    – Fruit by the Foot
    – TV SHOW: “Boy Meets World” <— TOPANGA, I LOVE YOU!
    – TV SHOW: "Dinosaurs"
    – TV SHOW: "Land of the Lost"
    – ZEBRA/Parachute Pants

    I had some of my BEST years in the 90s. So did Will Smith. Fresh Prince in the HOUSE y'all! :)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I watched “Dinosaurs” and “Land of the Lost” religiously while growing up. I’ve got some great memories of those shows—and many others from that era. I was actually planning on talking about “Singled Out” in this post before I decided to focus on snacks. In fact, I probably should have used this blog to talk about how the 90s were basically MTV’s “swan song” years.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      There are no words to describe the “Flashbacks” reading that list just did to me! holy crap! Don’t forget “Ghost Writer” and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” That were on, on saturdays whilst I ate all of these retro foods!

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