The 80s were undoubtedly one of the best eras of the twentieth century, especially if you lived them as a teenager. It was a decade of many technological advances, social change, and above all, a lot of fashion. From the exuberant hairstyles to the colorful outfits, the 80s shined.

Popular culture was immensely expanded thanks to the incredible series and movies that were released, but let’s not forget something that also fills in the memories of millions of kids and young adults who grew up in that era: the snacks!

Although in excess they can be harmful to health, snacks have always been one of the best companions for a meeting with friends, and family, in a lunchbox at school, or even as a small appetizer at work. 

The nostalgic 80s saw the evolution and birth of some of the most popular snacks to date, from savory to sweet, there was something for everyone.

Many were discontinued, although that does not prevent them from being fondly remembered by today’s adults. Nostalgia is guaranteed on this trip down memory lane, these are the

20 Best Snacks Of The 1980s

Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake

Sara Lee Foods Family Size Pound Cake, 16 oz (frozen)

Company: Sara Lee Corporation

Now extinct but always remembered, the Sara Lee Corporation delivered a perfect snack to fill that empty space in your stomach after lunch. 

The All Butter Pound Cake was simple but effective, a delicious little cake made with the infallible butter recipe. Besides working as a typical afternoon dessert, it was perfect to accompany a good tea or even fruit, ice cream, and other delicacies.

With no need for artificial flavors and other additives such as frosting and filling, this little cupcake from Sara Lee only required a few seconds in the microwave to delight your palate and that of your visitors.

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Mr. T Cereal

Company: Quaker Oats Company

“I pity the fool who don’t eat my cereal”… That’s how aggressive the marketing of this cereal was, but come on, it’s Mr. T’s cereal, of course, it should be promoted with a lot of testosterone!

Mr T Cereal

The iconic actor who appeared in major productions such as Rocky III and The A-Team could not be left out of the trend of releasing a cereal based on a character. 

The crunchy cereal consisted of a mix of corn and oats, and all the pieces were in the shape of the letter T. It wasn’t a culinary revolution of course, but its commercials made you believe that if you ate this cereal your muscles would grow like Mr. T. And if you add to that the stickers inside the box, you have something that every kid will run to the market to buy.

Besides, this product was a perfect marketing strategy to advertise the Mr. T animated series, because you know, “Team up with Mr. T, It’s cool”.


Cheez Balls

Planters Original Cheez Balls Cheese Flavored Snacks from the 80s

Company: Planters

When we talk about snacks, you can never miss those that use cheese as the main ingredient. In general, snacks based on that don’t usually fail, but if one took the formula to another level it was Planters’ Cheez Balls.

With their rounded shape and loaded with an intense but pleasant flavor, Cheez Balls were a sensation during the 1980s, mainly because they used to leave their consumers’ fingers completely orange. No matter if you were the most refined person at the table, you were not going to be spared from the cheese invasion.

For their most loyal customers, this snack far surpassed other classics like Cheezies and Cheese Doodles, which is why it’s unknown why Planters decided to stop their production in 2006, although they had a temporary comeback in 2018. 

There’s never enough Cheez Balls, we want more!

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Jell-O Pudding Pops

Company: Jell-O

It was about time that popsicles appeared on the list of 80s snacks, and what better option than combining them with Pudding?

Jell-O started selling them in the ’70s, but it was in the ’80s when Pudding Pops exploded in popularity, generating a lot of money for its distribution company.

And it’s no surprise because the variety of chocolate, vanilla, and the combination of the two is something every child loves. It’s an option that never fails, and even more so when you add vanilla pudding.

These popsicles had an incredible creaminess, and just the right amount of sugar to satisfy you without cloying you but beware of getting brain freeze with pudding, as that would be your fault.

Despite their enormous profitability, Pudding Pops were discontinued in the 1990s because they were no longer profitable to make. Yes, quite ironic. 

In 2004 they returned under the Popsicle brand but failed to surpass the originals in both presentation and popularity.


Super Pretzel

SuperPretzel, Soft Pretzels

Company: SuperPretzel

With a name as extensive as SuperPretzels Fully Baked Soft Pretzels, it’s hard to believe that this snack has been successful, but when you see those huge Pretzels, it’s impossible not to crave them.

Whether you want to enjoy an afternoon of watching soccer with your friends, or you just got hungry, SuperPretzels will save the day. With just a touch of salt and a few seconds in the microwave or toaster oven, these delicious snacks are ready to go.

And unlike other snacks, the heat won’t take away the purity of these pretzels. On the contrary, it makes them even softer and more palatable. 

In short, SuperPretzels came to prove that salty pretzels were also cool and could compete head-to-head with sweet pretzels.

Surely, these snacks were a favorite of parents at the time, who had a hard time keeping their children away from the many sugary delicacies on the market.

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Squeezit

Company: General Mills

The mechanics of Squeezit are quite similar to Push Pop Candy, you just squeeze the container to extract all the flavor.

Squeezit was a fruit drink that came in all flavors. Well, maybe not all of them but boy, were there a lot of them and they were all represented by a fun character. Chucklin’ Cherry, Berry B. Wild, Grumpy Grape, Silly Billy Strawberry, and Rockin’ Red Puncher, are just a few of the flavors available.

A special edition included colored pellets that, when dropped into the drink, changed its color. Oh, and let’s not forget the legendary black Squeezit, whose flavor you had to guess when you drank it.

Squeezit was a favorite drink for kids until it was discontinued in 2001. Since then, it has returned twice to the market but has failed to replicate the success of the original, which is still remembered by many consumers on social networks, where they debate whether Squeezit was superior to Capri Sun.


Sunkist Fun Fruits

Sunkist Fruit Snacks Assorted Flavour

Company: Sunkist Growers, Incorporated 

Quite inspired by the Wizard of Oz movie, these fruit snacks fell from the chattering Tickle Trees that delighted children in their commercials in the late 1980s. 

Cherry, orange, grape, and strawberry are the main flavors of these bean-shaped treats, but they were soon available in the form of letters, animals, peculiar feet, monsters, dinosaurs, special ships, rock ‘n’ roll, and more. In short, everything your imagination could think of. Oh, and let’s not forget the “creme supreme” variation, covered in yogurt.

With such an incredible range of presentations, it’s no surprise that Fun Fruits were a huge hit with kids, and although they weren’t real fruit and didn’t have the nutritional values of real fruit, they made the little ones at home happy.

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Smurf-Berry Crunch Cereal

Company: Post

Kids in the 1980s grew up with a large number of animated characters accompanying them. And many earned the honor of starring in a brand of cereal, although Smurf-Berry Crunch was something more.

The Smurf characters are one of the most iconic in popular culture, even though they don’t get as much attention as they did in the 80s, their golden age. Post took it upon itself to produce a cereal to match these funny little blue creatures and their magical adventures.

Described as “fruity sweetened corn, oat & wheat cereal fortified with 10 essential vitamins and minerals”, this cereal was a sensation among Smurfs lovers, even though the pieces were not blue, but a combination of red and black. That was a bit surprising for a Smurfs product, but I think it’s part of the cereal’s timeless charm.

And as usual, each box came with a sticker of one of the many Smurfs from the show, so you had to eat a lot of cereal if you wanted to get them all.


Pac-Man Cereal

Company: General Mills

Mario may be the most popular video game character of the 1980s, but let’s not forget that Pac-Man came before, and took arcades by storm.

Pac Man Cereal

General Mills saw a perfect opportunity to create a product under the license of the successful yellow Puck, launching a cereal for the character in 1983.

This cereal came with corn poufs and marshmallows in the shape of Pac-Man and other characters such as Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, the yellow hero’s ghostly pursuers. Over time, new editions of the cereal were released, with larger Super Pac-Man marshmallows and two-tone ones referencing Ms. Pac-Man.

With fun commercials and catchphrases like “Chomp Chomp Delicious” and “Now Pac-Man isn’t just a game you play,” the Pac-Man cereal was almost as successful as the video game, as kids could now experience eating ghostly creatures and getting stronger.

In 2018, Funko released a new cereal of the character that you could only purchase at GameStop. Although it was unrelated to the original product, it was a nice homage to the 80s.


TCBY Yogurt

Company: TCBY

Yogurts were not the most popular food in the 1980s, at least in the snack section, as it was boring in the eyes of children. That label fell off when TCBY launched its amazing line of frozen yogurts with a variety of flavors.

Since the frozen yogurt business was relatively new, at first they tasted more like yogurt base, but over time, the formula was altered to be similar to soft ice cream.

Experimentation was also the order of the day, and TCBY offered the most different flavors and toppings to its consumers. 

For the fitness people of the time, this yogurt was a perfect option to cool off on sunny days and not have to worry so much about the product’s calories. 

Since TBCY’s success, kids see yogurt in a different light.


Fruit Roll-Ups

Fruit Roll-Ups Gelatin Free Fruit Flavored Snacks

Company: Betty Crocker

A common problem for parents is that their children have an aversion to healthy foods because junk food always gets their attention. However, Fruit Roll-Ups appeared to prove that fruits also go well with sweets.

The presentation is simple yet quite peculiar, as they were flat, fruit-flavored strips rolled up in a tube. Thanks to their compact shape, consumers could combine them with other snacks and enjoy the mix.

Made from real fruit, these Rolls were one of the healthiest snacks… Okay, maybe that point isn’t quite true because Fruit Roll-Ups are too sweet for their base ingredient to be fruit, but let’s face it, kids loved them for just that.

With an incredible variety of flavors, Fruit Roll-Ups delighted the masses in the 80s and are still available to this day. You couldn’t consider yourself cool if you don’t have these treats in your lunchbox.

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Dr. Pepper Gum

Company: Keurig Dr. Pepper

Back in the 1980s, several carbonated drinks companies took a chance on the chewing gum market. Dr. Pepper was no exception, and if its soft drinks were already sweet enough, its gum was three times as sweet.

Dr. Pepper Bubble Gum from the 80s

As a soda-based chewing gum, it was quite peculiar, although that was not a problem for it to become popular among teenagers and children.

It was a larger than normal piece of chewing gum, with a square shape and a red wine color like the soda, and of course, it also had a taste similar to it.

When you were feeling nervous about an exam, you would gobble one of these to lighten the mood. It wasn’t going to magically give you the answers, because the gum was created to calm your nerves, not to turn you into Einstein.

Overall, Dr. Pepper Gum was a lifesaver if you didn’t have a soda vending machine nearby, as one bite of the gum was enough to fill you with the unique, sweet taste of a Dr. Pepper.


Push Pop Candy

Push Pop Candy 3 Pack

Company: Topps Company

One of the difficulties with candy is that it’s sticky and can leave a mess on your hands, but Topps Company found the solution to that with their Push Pop Candy, which are small plastic cylinders that hold delicious candy inside.

To get the candy out, it’s as easy as pushing the bottom of the cylinder, and if you want to keep it, just push it back down. That mechanic may not seem like much today, but it was revolutionary at the time and was one of the reasons why Push Pop Candy became so popular with kids and adults alike.

Another reason is the huge variety of fruit-inspired flavors. The main ones were strawberry, grape, blue raspberry, and watermelon, while the rarest were orange, lemon, and cherry. 

Push Pop Candy was and still is one of the best snacks to give you a sugar rush when you need it most. If you grew up in the 80s, there’s no way you haven’t kept a cylinder of these candies as a fond memory.

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Slice Soda

Company: PepsiCo

When Sprite and 7-Up dominated the lemon soda market, PepsiCo hit the table with its Slice drink, made with 10% real fruit juice.

In a short time, Slice established itself as one of the most profitable products, so they began to launch new flavors such as Mandarin Orange, Apple, Cherry Cola, and countless others over the next decade.

One of the keys to the success of this drink among children is that it was a little sweeter and with less crisp than the competition.

The addition of real juice to the formula gave it a unique taste. While many were confused and couldn’t tell the difference between Sprite and 7-Up, Slice made it pretty clear what it tasted like.

However, Slice bowed out of the market in 2005, as its success inspired other brands to create their own juice-infused drinks, to which they lost the race in the long run.

Fortunately, New Slice Ventures LLC acquired the rights to the drink, reintroducing it to the market.

Of course, it’s not as popular as it used to be, but you can still find it in the markets and refresh yourself as you did in the schoolyard.


Totino’s Pizza Rolls

Totino's Frozen Pizza Rolls Pepperoni

Company: Pillsbury

Italian flavor may be much more associated with fine dining and gourmet food, but that didn’t stop tycoon Jeno Paulucci from creating delicious, bite-sized Rolls loaded with classic pepperoni pizza flavor among other toppings. The result? The legendary Pizza Rolls.

With a crispy, flavorful crust, a more than adequate size, and plenty of Italian-inspired toppings, Pizza Rolls were the best thing to look forward to satiating your appetite during a game afternoon with friends, a birthday party, a movie night, and countless other occasions.

These frozen rolls only needed a few minutes in the oven or microwave to acquire their characteristic golden hue and be ready for your stomach.

Pizza Rolls are produced by many companies, but Totino’s original ones are the ones that stood out the most in the 80s and continue to do so today.

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Capri-Sun

Capri Sun Fruit Punch Naturally Flavored Kids Juice Drink Blend

Company: Kraft Foods in the USA, Rudolf Wild & Co. in Germany

Tired after a long day of studying or playing with your friends? No problem, Capri-Sun juice is there to refresh you right away and recharge your batteries. 

Originally launched under the name “Capri-Sonne” in West Germany in 1969, this juice eventually spread to more than 100 countries, and it was obvious that the United States would be no exception. 

When it reached American markets in 1981, Capri-Sun immediately stood out for its presentation packaging. Instead of being contained in the typical cardboard box, the juice came in a pouch that was ready for you to squeeze and extract its full flavor. 

Just by looking at it, the juice was refreshing. The flavors offered a rich variety of fruits, from lemonade, apple, orange, kiwi, and even a fruit punch. 

But if there was one thing you had to watch out for with a Capri-Sun juice, it was the pouch, as there were plenty of kids who ended up soaking wet like Carrie when they squeezed the pouch too hard and popped it. I call that a flavor explosion.

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Keebler Magic Middles

Company: Keebler

Featuring a charismatic elf (with the stature of a dwarf) as a mascot, Keebler’s Magic Middles were delicious shortbread cookies filled with luscious creamy fudge or peanut butter.

Loaded with sugar and sweetness, these cookies were addictive for 80s kids, who felt like they were in a fantasy world when they ate them. So it’s a real shame that they were discontinued for no apparent reason in the mid-1990s.

Some rumors indicate that it was because they were too complicated to produce, but boy were they worth the effort because they sold like hotcakes.

These snacks have such a passionate fan base that they have created groups and collected signatures on social networks to ask Keebler to re-release the Magic Middles that made them so happy in their childhood.

Whether or not they will make a comeback is a complete mystery, but what is certain is that they will always be remembered as one of the best cookies you could find in the markets during the 80s.


Reese’s Pieces

REESE PIECES Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy

Company: The Hershey Company

These peanut butter candies covered with different colored candy shells arrived in the United States in 1978, but it was in 1982 that their fame exploded thanks to their appearance in a movie starring an alien named E.T.

The success of E.T. caused every American kid to want something to do with the good-natured alien, which increased sales of Reese’s Pieces by 300%, helping to establish its name as one of the most popular snacks of the 1980s.

It was so successful that it came to rival the classic M&M’s, the kings of the spheroid-shaped chocolate industry. You could find Reese’s Pieces everywhere, from candy tables at birthday parties to school playgrounds.

And of course, adults couldn’t resist their flavor either, the only people who didn’t enjoy these candies were probably dentists.

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Peanut Butter Boppers

Company: General Mills

Taking advantage of the adaptability of its key ingredient, General Mills launched Peanut Butter Boppers in 1985, bars filled with pure peanut butter and coated with a layer of oats, rice crispies, chocolate chips, and other delicacies.

The first flavors available were Honey Crisp, Fudge Chip, and Peanut Butter. In 1986, Fugde Gram and Cookie Crunch were added to the list. Whichever flavor you choose, this bar is sure to delight you.

In its first 90 days, Peanut Butter Boppers dominated 90% of the snack market, a statistic of absolute insanity. Peanut butter will always be a sure path to victory.

Well, for Boppers not so much because they were discontinued a few years later, although their community of fans longs for the day of their return. Come on General Mills, give us what we want.


Cool Ranch Doritos

Doritos Tortilla Chips Cool Ranch Party Size Bag

Company: Frito-Lay (a subsidiary of PepsiCo)

“Crunch all you want, we’ll make more”. That phrase said by Jay Leno perfectly sums up everything Doritos means to today’s society. No matter the country or the time, you will always find this delicious snack in the markets (or at least its copies).

Since the 70s, Doritos was already successful with its infallible tortilla chips recipe, but in 1986 they took a giant step forward with a new presentation of electric blue and a flavor inspired by the country’s ranch cuisine, the Doritos Cool Ranch tortilla chips.

With base ingredients such as garlic, onion, tomato powder, cheese, and milk, Cool Ranch Doritos hit their target, being a snack that was both sweet and spicy at the same time.

They caused such a sensation that variations soon followed, including the Flamin Hot Cool Ranch and even a “3D” edition, with filled chips. They can create a thousand more Doritos flavors, but Cool Ranch will always be at the top.

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As we have seen in this list, the 80s were a golden age for snacks, with a lot of improvements over what already existed and with some new proposals that revolutionized the industry.

Whether you lived through this decade as a child, teenager, or adult, you surely enjoyed some of these snacks, some of which were so popular that they have been adapted to current times, bringing happiness with their flavors to the new generation.

Last update on 2024-04-04 at 01:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API