Everyone has foods that they loved when they were a kid that are no longer around.
We’re sure that there are plenty of baby boomers who look back with fondness on various canned and processed foods that at the time were considered new and exciting, and the 1970s seemed to be a golden age of super-sugary breakfast cereals that came and went. But no snack foods seem to have woven their way into the collective nostalgic subconscious like the dearly departed junk food of the 1990s.
Perhaps it’s because those who came of age during the decade are getting to the point in their 20s and 30s where nostalgia for an era when their biggest concern was getting the book report in on time sets in, but it seems like '90s nostalgia is coming to a head, prompting even the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys to go back on tour together. Looking at a box of French Toast Crunch shouldn’t necessarily inspire pangs of longing nostalgia, but for some reason, for a lot of people, it does.
So we decided to dig into the vault of vanished food products and pull out a few that really struck a chord with us.
It seems like the '90s were full of products that came and went. Some, like the famously cross-promoted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle foods and drinks, like the classic Ecto-Cooler, will most likely never return because the Ninja Turtles don’t exactly have the same cultural cachet that they used to. Others, like Heinz’s multicolored "EZ-Squirt" ketchup, simply didn’t sell and were a little weird to begin with.
But these foods all have one thing in common: we really miss them.
1. Hostess Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pies
Either you remember these with extreme fondness, or you’ve never heard of them; nobody who ever experienced a Ninja Turtle Pudding Pie looks back on it with neutrality. They were released in 1991 as part of a giant cross-promotional stunt that also looped in Ellio’s Pizza and Hi-C, but these were by far the oddest of the bunch.
These huge pies (way too big for a kid to eat) were dyed a shade of deep green, which gave way to a yellowish vanilla-flavored pudding when you bit into them. Each package also came with a TMNT trading card. Not only were they crazy-looking, but they were pretty darn delicious. They only stuck around for a couple of years, and Hostess confirmed in 2004 that "the pies were always meant to be a limited item and… we do not intend to re-introduce them to the marketplace."
Oh well. Even the pudding pies are really tough to find these days, without the green crust.
2. Butterfinger BB’s
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 seemingly 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, and after much uproar something similar, Butterfinger Bites, were introduced in 2009, but they’re just not the same.
3. Cheetos Paws
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.
4. French Toast Crunch
Nothing says "childhood" like a monstrous bowl of tiny little French toasts, right? Launched in 1995 by General Mills, this product, with its cute tiny little toasts and maple syrup flavor, was beloved by soon-to-be-hyper kids nationwide. In 2006, the cereal was discontinued in the U.S., but not before being altered to look identical to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with a different flavor (what gives?). Rumor has it that you can still track down boxes here and there in Canada, and the newer, flatter version is still available online.
5. Rice Krispies Treats Cereal
The early '90s equivalent of the Doritos Locos Taco-flavored Dorito, Rice Krispies Treats Cereal took a beloved product, Rice Krispies, turned it into a completely different food item, Rice Krispies Treats, then turned that item back into a cereal. Brilliant. First introduced in 1993, it’s since become somewhat of a supermarket rarity.
It’s actually next to impossible to find these in supermarkets these days, but believe it or not they haven’t been completely discontinued: Amazon still has some available!
Check out more '90s foods that are now hard to find.
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