Jell-O Pudding Pops and Other ’80s Foods You Can’t Buy Anymore
The ’80s: It was a time of big hair, neon, and MTV. Ronald Reagan was president, video games were suddenly on every kid’s wish list, and Cheers was one of the most popular shows on TV. And then there was the food.
The 1980s introduced us to Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, and Cool Ranch Doritos — all products that are still going strong today. But not every ’80s food fad stood the test of time. From Jell-O Pudding Pops to Jolt Cola, here are 15 memorable foods of the 1980s you can no longer find in stores.
1. Jell-O Pudding Pops
If you were a kid in the 1980s, you’ll remember these chocolatey frozen snacks and the commercials for them, starring Bill Cosby. But Jell-O Pudding Pops have long been absent from store shelves.
Although consumers loved them — people were buying $300 million of Pudding Pops a year in the mid-’80s — they were so expensive to make that they weren’t profitable, according to Culinary Lore. The pops were discontinued in the 1990s. Fans have petitioned to resurrect the dessert. But one thing is for sure: If they ever brought these frozen treats back, they’d have to find a new spokesman.
Next: Jolt Cola
2. Jolt Cola
In an era before energy drinks were ubiquitous, Jolt Cola was a novelty. The soda, which hit shelves in 1985, featured “all the sugar and twice the caffeine” of its tamer counterparts.
But you won’t find Jolt in vending machines these days. The company that made the drink filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and eventually started selling Jolt energy drinks, though those products seems to have vanished, as well. For now, the caffeine-deprived will have to settle for a double-shot of espresso.
Next: McDonald’s Fried Apple Pies
3. McDonald’s Fried Apple Pies
Anyone who ate at the Golden Arches in the ’80s likely remembers the unique crispy, flaky texture of McDonald’s Fried Apple Pies. The dessert, first introduced in 1968, is still on the menu, but it’s not the same as it used to be. Since 1992, the pies have been baked.
Fried pie fans shouldn’t despair though. The original version of the treats does make the occasional, rare reappearance. One writer for the OC Weekly found them on the menu at a McDonald’s in Long Beach in 2015. There’s even a Twitter account dedicated to tracking sightings of the fried pies in the wild.
Next: Fruity Yummy Mummy
4. Fruity Yummy Mummy
In the 1980s, “monster cereals” Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry were available year-round. Now, you can only get them around Halloween. But what about Fruity Yummy Mummy? This scary breakfast food’s reign of terror lasted from 1987 to 1992. The cereal made a brief return to store shelves as part of a special promotion in 2013, noted Bloody Disgusting, but it hasn’t been seen since.
Next: Mr. T Cereal
5. Mr. T Cereal
The 1980s were a golden age for pop culture cereal tie-ins. One of the more memorable was Mr. T Cereal, the first licensed cereal from Quaker Oats. Supposedly, it tasted a bit like Cap’n Crunch. Not an A-Team fan? Pretty much every other ’80s pop culture phenomenon that would appeal to kids had a matching cereal, including Rainbow Brite, Gremlins, and Nintendo.
Next: New Coke
6. New Coke
In 1985, Coca-Cola had been made with the same secret formula for nearly 100 years. Then, the company decided to mess with perfection, replacing the classic recipe with a modified one dubbed New Coke. People hated it. Within a few months, Coca-Cola Classic was back on store shelves, while New Coke quietly faded away.
The move was such a disaster that some people thought the company had deliberately planned the switch to increase enthusiasm for the original product. But Coke executives swore it was a genuine blunder, albeit one that taught them a valuable lesson about the power of their brand.
Next: Pepsi Free
7. Pepsi Free
In 1982, Pepsi became the first major soda manufacturer to introduce a caffeine-free cola. They called it Pepsi Free, and it was sold under that name for several years until it was re-branded as Caffeine-Free Pepsi. You can still buy Pepsi without caffeine, but the can looks different. And according to this writer at Retro Junk, the taste isn’t the same either.
Next: Colgate frozen meals
8. Colgate frozen meals
File this one under WTF. In 1982, Colgate — yes, the makers of toothpaste — introduced a line of frozen dinner entrees. Shockingly, these microwave meals didn’t take off, probably because people associated the Colgate name with the minty-fresh taste of toothpaste, not a savory stir fry.
Forget Twinkies. Chocolate lovers knew these Hostess snack cakes were way, way better. Made with two layers of devil’s food cake, plus a chocolate filling and a layer of chocolate on top, they were a classic 1980s snack. But they’ve disappeared from store shelves. You can try making your own homemade version by following this recipe.
Next: Giggles Sandwich Cookies
10. Giggles Sandwich Cookies
Hat tip to Buzzfeed for reminding us of Giggles Sandwich cookies. These were chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies with a smiley face on top. The filling tasted a bit like an Oreo, according to The City Workshop, and it appears they were introduced sometime in the late ’70s or early ’80s but were gone by the 1990s.
Slice was a fruit-flavored line of sodas introduced by Pepsi in 1984. It was the first soda made with fruit juice, and it was a big hit, at least at first. But competitors introduced their own, similar sodas, such as Minute Maid orange soda and Sunkist. By 1987, the soda’s market share was slipping. The brand hung until 2000, when it was replaced by Sierra Mist.
Next: Nestle Alpine White
12. Nestle Alpine White
This white chocolate bar with almonds first hit store shelves in 1986, according to Food52, and was pitched to consumers in what might be the most ’80s commercial ever. The candy was discontinued in 1993, though according to this user on Quora, you can create your own version by combining Ghirardelli white chocolate chips and sliced almonds.
Next: Bar None
13. Bar None
Bar None, launched in 1986, was “Hershey’s original foray into the gourmet chocolate bar market before a gourmet chocolate bar market actually existed,” according to Mental Floss. The chocolate wafer, peanut, and chocolate candy never really caught on, though it hung around until 1997, when it was discontinued.
Next: Life Savers Soda
14. Life Savers Soda
Another short-lived ’80s product, Life Savers Soda probably sounded like a great idea on the drawing board. But it fell flat once it hit store shelves. Apparently, people thought the beverage was too sweet, and the name gave people the impression they were drinking liquid candy, according to Consumerist.
Burples were a fruit drink mix packaged in an accordion-like container. You stretched out the container, added water, shook, and drank. Once you finished your beverage, you could convert the container into a squirt gun, according to RetroLand. It’s not clear when these drinks were discontinued, but they’re definitely no longer available.
Read More: 19 Favorite ’90s Foods You Can’t Buy Anymore