February 22, 2024

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World's finest Food

Discover the foods launched in the year you were born


Ever find yourself craving your go-to childhood snack or lunchbox favorite? From sugar-coated cereals and candy bars to quick TV dinners and fast food classics, the food we ate growing up holds a special place in our hearts and stomachs. Here, we’ve eaten our way through the decades to bring you the crowd-pleasing foods that were launched the year you were born.




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Now produced by confectionery giant Hershey’s, the Almond Joy chocolate bar was the brainchild of the Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing Company back in the 1940s. Similar to a British Bounty, the candy bar sees coconut and almond cased in a creamy milk, or sometimes dark, chocolate.




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Betty Crocker, the beloved fictional baker, has been a household name since the 1920s, with her face appearing on early products including flour and cookbooks. But Betty Crocker cake mix, arguably the product the brand is now most famous for, didn’t appear on shelves until 1947. Today you can whip up baked goods in a flash with products ranging from a classic yellow cake mix to a “super moist party rainbow chip” concoction.




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Today produced by the Frito-Lay company, Cheetos first sprinkled orange dust over America’s snack scene in 1948. Now the gloriously cheesy sticks are synonymous with Chester Cheetah, a cool big cat donning sunglasses and white high-tops. These days, you can even find the snack – which comes in varieties including crunchy, puffs and Flamin’ Hot – sprinkled over soft serve or crushed into mac ‘n’ cheese.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Corn Pops, a sweet, puffed cereal made by Kellogg’s, first found its way onto breakfast tables in 1950. A hit with kids and adults alike, the product was known as Sugar Pops for a time, before reclaiming its original name, much to the public’s delight. “Gotta have my pops” is the cereal’s most enduring slogan.




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These tasty pizza pockets have been on the market since 1951 when foodie businessman Jeno Paulucci (the brains behind the Chun King Chinese food range) first introduced them. A favorite as part of a TV dinner or as a speedy snack, Totino’s Pizza Rolls are filled with everything from pepperoni and bacon to classic cheese. They’re the ultimate in quick comfort food.




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Whether you prefer it spread across bite-sized crackers or oozing out of a Philly cheesesteak, you’ve no doubt tasted this processed cheese at some point. First introduced in 1952, then rolled out across the States in 1953, Kraft’s Cheez Whiz has been a staple of American store cupboards and student dorms for almost seven decades. This 1950s ad raves about its “tantalizing Cheddar flavor” and its versatility.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


A jolly white rabbit has long been the mascot for this colorful breakfast cereal, which debuted in 1954. Invented by General Mills, the brand is known for its rainbow of fruit shapes – think half-moon watermelons, bright orange segments and purple grape bunches – and its satisfyingly sweet taste.




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A decidedly more grown-up breakfast cereal is Special K, a wholesome offering from Kellogg’s that launched in 1955. Made from crispy rice, wheat and barley flakes, the cereal was promoted as one of the most healthful and virtuous options on the market at the time. This 1970s ad still celebrates the product’s high protein, iron and vitamin content.




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Another beloved breakfast cereal by General Mills, Cocoa Puffs are a chocolatey medley of corn, oats and rice. Introduced in 1956, they’ve been fronted by cheery Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, once clad in retro red stripes, since the 1960s. Unsurprisingly, this cereal is still a hit with sweet-toothed kids, who love the delicious chocolate milk it leaves behind.




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One of the most legendary burgers in fast food, Burger King’s Whopper is more than six decades old. The towering sandwich consists of a flame-grilled beef patty, topped with pickles, salad, mayo and onions, and sandwiched in a pillowy sesame seed bun. It’s got such mammoth appeal that fast food heavyweight Burger King even markets itself as “The Home of the Whopper”.




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One of America’s most enduring and well-loved peanut butter brands, Jif has truly stood the test of time, having been available since 1958. While its fans may argue over whether creamy or crunchy is best, they all agree that it’s delicious when spread across warm toast or into a comforting PB&J sandwich.




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One for Brits, this creamy, caramel candy bar is a firm childhood favorite with sugar-lovers across the pond. Launched in the UK in 1959 and made with ingredients including condensed milk, sugar and treacle, it’s known for its bold red and yellow packaging, and its super-sweet taste.




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While you know and love them as Starburst today, these rainbow-wrapped chews began life as Opal Fruits in 1960, before a bold name change later on in the decade. They’re now available in tropical flavors including Mango Melon and Piña Colada, but they launched with a fail-safe medley of Strawberry, Lime, Orange and Lemon. In our opinion, the originals are still the best.




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Transforming home brews from the 1960s onwards, Coffee Mate is a powdered milk alternative that turns a banal black coffee into a creamy delight. You can still buy it today, in its time-honored original form, as well as in fun flavors like French Vanilla and Pumpkin Spice.




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These adorable goldfish-shaped crackers were first invented in 1958 in Switzerland, but were launched across the States in 1962. Made by Connecticut-based Pepperidge Farm, the golden baked snacks are carved with cute little smiles and made with real Cheddar. A lunchbox favorite and a kids’ birthday party staple, they’re sure to get you feeling nostalgic.




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A veritable rainbow in a bowl, this cereal is named for its fruity flavors and ringed shape. Eye-catching red Froot Loops boxes, emblazoned with mascot Toucan Sam, stand out from supermarket aisles. The colorful “loops” – in red, yellow, orange, blue and more – brighten the breakfast table.




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A favorite with kids and a nostalgic treat for adults, Lucky Charms has been on shelves since 1964. A glorious mix of rainbow, horseshoe and four-leaf clover-shaped cereals, it’s peddled by a beaming leprechaun named Lucky. There’s little sign of the cereal falling out of favor with Americans.




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“The neat new spaghetti you can eat with a spoon”: that’s how Franco-American marketed these conveniently canned spaghetti loops when they first hit stores in 1965. They were an instant favorite, serving as a quick, warming lunch; an innovative toast topper; or an accompaniment for a meat and potato supper.




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Whether you’ve a penchant for Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch, these triangular chips are the perfect party snack and have been for more than half a century. They were launched nationwide in the States in 1966, with early flavors including Toasted Corn and Taco. This photo shows some time-honored flavors clad in their retro packaging.




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Hunt’s Snack Pack puddings are a nostalgic lunchbox staple and a lip-smacking sweet treat after an evening supper. First appearing in stores in 1968 and geared towards kids, these tasty pudding cups can be found in flavors ranging from tapioca and strawberry to chocolate and butterscotch.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


In modern supermarkets, you can’t move for bulging bags of gourmet popcorn but Orville Redenbacher was an early purveyor of stuff, with his elegantly packaged offering hitting stores across America by 1970. It’s now sold by Conagra and can still be found in classic flavors like Buttery and Sweet and Savory.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


As well as a lunch and dinner favorite, McDonald’s became a staple fast food joint for breakfast, in part thanks to the Egg McMuffin, which was launched in 1972. Canadian bacon, oozing American cheese and an egg are piled into an English muffin to make a hearty breakfast sandwich that will keep you full until midday.




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Before Nature Valley’s wildly popular bars came its granola: deliciously crunchy rolled oats and sesame seeds flavored with honey, brown sugar and vanilla. This sweet cereal was launched in 1973 and its moreish snack bars would follow two years later.




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Candy lovers have been able to “taste the rainbow” since 1974, when these delightfully chewy sweets were first launched in the UK. They made their way across the pond to the US by the end of the decade, and now the colorful candies can be found in varieties from Crazy Sours to Tropical.




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This popular candy exploded onto the sweets scene in the 1970s, delighting kids who reveled in the bizarre sensation of the tiny rocks “popping” in their mouths. Urban legends involving exploding kids circled the product after its launch but of course, tests showed that the product was – and is – perfectly safe. Early flavors included Strawberry and Grape, and they’re still a favorite with retro candy lovers today.




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“Once you pop, you just can’t stop,” so the slogan goes – and that’s certainly true for any hardened Pringles fans. Sales of this curved snack – marketed by inventors Procter & Gamble as a “new-fangled” potato chip – were modest at first. They were initially invented and sold in specific regions in the 1960s, and only rolled out globally in the decades that followed.




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These crunchy, monster-themed corn snacks were first launched in the UK in 1977, marketed as “The Biggest Snack Pennies Can Buy”. They were – and are – as much loved for their monster mascots as their bold flavors, which have included Pickled Onion, Roast Beef and Saucy. Curious creatures, from a plump yellow cyclops to a wide-mouthed, fuchsia monster, have appeared on the packaging over the years.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


A sweeter version of General Mills’ already popular cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios was introduced in 1979, accompanied by a cheerful anthropomorphic bee (later named BuzzBee). The whole-grain product resembles original Cheerios in size, shape and color, but has a syrupy honey and almond flavor that’s especially loved by little ones.




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Another much-loved snack from Frito-Lay, Tostitos tortilla chips had a soft launch in 1979, and were rolled out nationwide across the States by 1980. Just like Doritos, their triangular sisters, Tostitos make for perfect movie or party snacks. Choose from Original, Roasted Red Pepper and Hint of Lime flavors.




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“What a way to watch what you eat” – that was the marketing slogan of Lean Cuisine, a range of low-calorie ready meals that tapped into the decade’s love of convenience food. Early options included Zucchini Lasagna and Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce, all under 300 calories. Lean Cuisine is still going strong and discerning diners now have around 100 entrées to choose from.




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Continuing the 1980s penchant for low-calorie products, Diet Coke launched in 1982, offering a slimmer-friendly alternative to America’s favorite sugar-laden soft drink. Sales quickly outstripped that of Tab, The Coca-Cola Company’s earlier diet drink, and it’s safe to say Diet Coke has stood the test of time.




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Fruit Roll-Ups became a lunchbox staple and a favored after-school snack in the 1980s, having been launched by General Mills in 1983. These fruity refreshments are exactly what they sound like: a thin gummy treat rolled up in plastic wrapping, available in flavors such as Strawberry Sensation and Tropical Tie-Dye.




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Another one British readers will know, these oat cookies are consistently ranked among Britain’s favorite biscuits. Launched in 1984, Hobnobs are beloved to this day for their flapjack-like consistency, sweet oaty flavor and satisfying crunch. Chocolate fiends can find them covered in milk and dark chocolate too.




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Finding their way into stores in 1985, Bagel Bites are mini pizzas that make for a comforting snack, a crowd-pleasing party food or even a super-speedy supper if popped in the oven with some frozen fries. Classic offerings include the pleasingly salty Cheese and Pepperoni and the indulgent Three Cheese.




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Were you even an 80s kid if you didn’t love Push Pop Candy? The neat lollipop – still a favorite with children today – can be pushed out or popped up when a sweet treat is needed, then retracted and saved for later. Fun flavors include Berry Blast and Watermelon.




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While Snapple has been on shelves since the early 1970s, it wasn’t until 1987 that its refreshing iced tea debuted. The first flavor to be introduced was Lemon, which remains a firm favorite with modern Snapple lovers. Options including Raspberry, Peach and Straight Up Sweet have now joined the ranks.




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The Wrigley Company introduced its popular bubble gum tape in 1988 and it burgeoned in popularity through the 1990s. Kids and young teenagers still love the popping packaging, the fun flavors (think Sour Blue Raspberry, Groovy Grape and Tangy Tropical) and, of course, the generous tape-like spiral of gum.




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As a kid in the late 1980s and 90s, it was always a glorious day when you opened your lunchbox to find Lunchables. For the uninitiated, the product sees morsels such as crackers, cheese and ham neatly separated into compartments, ready to be stacked into a gourmet lunchtime delight. There’s often a sweet dessert inside too. They’re sold by Kraft Heinz in the USA and under the Dairylea brand in the UK.




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A little like supper-time Lunchables, Kid Cuisine is a range of frozen dinners launched at the turn of the decade, and marketed towards kids. The line is known for its friendly-looking cartoon penguin mascot and its options range from SpongeBob SquarePants-shaped chicken nuggets to mac ‘n’ cheese.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


By 1993, classic Pepsi had already been on the market in some form for around a century. But with the concern for healthy eating ever on the increase, PepsiCo didn’t rest on its laurels. In 1993, they debuted Pepsi Max, a low-calorie, zero-sugar version of their staple beverage. Fast-forward more than two and a half decades, and it remains a fan favorite.




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By the mid-1990s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups had cemented themselves as a perennial favorite, having been launched right back in the 1920s. But, in 1994, The Hershey Company came up with another novel idea. Still making use of Reese’s crowd-pleasing peanut butter, this nutty bar sees caramel and actual peanuts in the chocolate casing too. Unsurprisingly, it went down a treat.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Lay’s baked potato chips, marketed for their lower fat content, had hit supermarket shelves by the mid-1990s. Those with an eye towards their waistline rejoiced as they enjoyed their favorite snack in its new, healthier form. They’re still going strong with favorite flavors including Original, Barbecue, and Sour Cream and Onion.




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The McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty is a mighty burger not dissimilar to Burger King’s Whopper, and it made its debut in 1997. It consists of a quarter-pound patty, salad, pickles and cheese, plus ketchup and mayo on a seeded bun. It’s been on and off menus throughout the decades and a similar product – The Big Tasty with special smoky sauce – is available in the UK and elsewhere.




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The ultimate yogurt-on-the-go, this kid-friendly snack from Yoplait launched in 1998. Yogurt – in Strawberry, Mixed Berry and even Sour Patch flavors – is cased in a tube for easy squeezing. Brits may well remember these lunchbox treats as Frubes.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


A refreshing variation of the time-honored soft drink, Pepsi Twist – Pepsi with a twist of lemon – was introduced at the turn of the millennium. Much to the dismay of die-hard fans, it’s no longer available in the US at the moment, but there’s life in it yet in several places worldwide, including parts of Europe.




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56/56 SLIDES