The One Iconic Food That Was Launched the Year You Were Born

Gatorade, 1970's

Gatorade, 1970's by Roadsidepictures (CC BY-NC)

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
McDonald’s McRib

When Your Favorite Foods Debuted

Happy birthday, McRib! The polarizing McDonald's sandwich is turning 40 this year, having made its debut as a test item in 1981. As history has shown, the saucy, sloppy seasonal staple has developed a devoted fan base, but it's far from the only food that has become a part of our national appetite. Wondering whether you share a birth year with some of your favorite grub, or maybe a tasty product you miss? Read on to find out. 

Related: Can You Guess What Year These Popular Food Brands Made Their Debut?

A 1950s Mountain Dew advertisement sign in Tonto, Arizona, showing the cartoon character "Willie the Hillbilly"
A 1950s Mountain Dew advertisement sign in Tonto, Arizona, showing the cartoon character "Willie the Hillbilly" by Bellczar (CC BY-SA)
Cereal (Cheerios)
Potapenko Ivan/shutterstock

1941: Cheerios

One of America's most ubiquitous breakfast cereals first appeared on grocery shelves not as Cheerios but "Cheerioats." General Mills aimed to highlight the cereal's main ingredient (oats) at a time when most competitors were still using corn. But that didn't fly with rival Quaker Oats, which objected to the use of "oats" in the new cereal's name. General Mills backed down and switched to "Cheerios" instead.

Related: Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Childhood Cereals

Vlasic Pickles
Wikimedia Commons
Two men observing the chewing gum truck

1944: Orbit Gum

We have World War II to thank for Orbit Gum. Wrigley, which was sending brands like Doublemint and Juicy Fruit overseas to keep morale up among the troops, produced sugar-free Orbit for civilians as a stop gap for gum lovers on the homefront. In 1946, the company stopped production, figuring no one would want it anymore. Orbit wouldn't reappear on U.S. shelves until 2001.

Dots by m kasahara (CC BY-NC-ND)
Vintage Ad #2,080: Minute Maid is Better for Your Health
Vintage Ad #2,080: Minute Maid is Better for Your Health by Jamie (CC BY-NC)

1946: Minute Maid

Minute Maid also has wartime roots. Uncle Sam ordered a half-million pounds of powdered orange juice from Florida Food Corporation in 1945, but the war ended before the company could fill the request. Inspired, the company decided to pivot to the consumer market with frozen, not powdered, orange-juice concentrate. The new-fangled stuff was called Minute Maid because it was so easy to prepare.  

Related: Inexpensive Ways to Get More Vitamin D

Betty Crocker cake mix
Geri Lavrov / Contributor / Moment Mobile / Getty Images CC

1947: Betty Crocker Cake Mix

Cake mix didn't gain national prominence until after the war, when women who had helped fill jobs on the homefront started looking for ways to save time in the kitchen. General Mills' first foray into cake mix was Betty Crocker Ginger Cake Mix, which was quickly followed by devil's food and a host of other new flavors. Interestingly, sales improved once dried eggs were removed from the mixes, because women felt less guilty using mixes if they added their own.

Related: Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes That We Secretly Love


1948: Nesquik

If you remember using Nestle Quick, not Nesquik, to sweeten up milk during your childhood, you aren't wrong. The chocolate drink mix was named the former in the United States, but the latter in Europe. Nestle didn't consolidate the brand names until 1999, when Nesquik won, notes Mashed. Strawberry was introduced after the original chocolate, but plenty of varieties have come and gone over the years, including caramel, cookies and cream, grape, cherry, and even mango. 

Jolly Rancher
Jolly Rancher by Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC)

1949: Jolly Ranchers

The Jolly Rancher Company, founded in Colorado, originally sold not just hard candies, but ice cream and chocolate. But it turns out ice cream wasn't a big seller during frigid Rocky Mountain winters, while the company's fruity hard candies retained their appeal all year. Hershey makes Jolly Ranchers today, including the most popular flavor of 'em all: watermelon.

Related: The Worst Candy For Your Teeth

Package of Kraft singles American cheese

1950: Kraft Singles

Imagine a world where you had to slice your own cheese (shudder). Kraft's Deluxe Process Slices took grocery shelves by storm in 1950, but customers had to grow accustomed to the new-fangled cheese. Many store managers had to demonstrate how to pull the slices apart, according to Culinary Lore. Kraft decided to up its game in the '60s, wrapping the individual slices in plastic much like it does today. 

Bananas Foster

1951: Bananas Foster

Bananas foster has made its way onto the menus of many a fancy steakhouse in the past several decades, but for the truest rendition, go to the source: Brennan's, where this treat made with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and liquor-soaked bananas was invented. At Brennan's, the dessert is still flambéed tableside. If you're feeling ambitious, you can also try to replicate the recipe at home (but keep a fire extinguisher close at hand).

Related: The Most Decadent Restaurant Desserts That Aren't Chocolate

Ore Ida Golden Crinkles
Ore Ida Golden Crinkles by Willis Lam (CC BY-SA)

1952: Ore-Ida French Fries

So named because it set up shop near the Oregon-Idaho border, Ore-Ida started out by producing flash-frozen corn, a product they quickly followed with their eponymous French fries. In the process of making the fries, the company got an idea for another iconic product: The potato scraps from making fries could be ground up, mixed with spices, and reshaped — and Ore-Ida's resulting Tater Tots made their debut in 1953.

Eggo Waffles
Andrew Burton / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

1953: Eggo Waffles

Breakfast got a whole lot easier in the 1950 with these iconic toaster waffles, but when they first hit the shelves, they weren't called Eggos — they were "Froffles" (a mashup of "frozen" and "waffles"). But their eggy taste inspired customers to start calling them "Eggos," and the name stuck. Twenty years later, one of the most famous phrases in advertising — "L'eggo my Eggo!" — entered the lexicon after Kellogg bought the brand. 

Related: Costco's Best Buys For Packing Your Freezer

1960 Swanson TV Dinner Advertisement Life Magazine December 5 1960
1960 Swanson TV Dinner Advertisement Life Magazine December 5 1960 by SenseiAlan (CC BY)
Special K
Ramin Talaie / Contributor / Corbis Historical / Getty Images CC

1955: Special K

Special K was special indeed when it was introduced in the mid-'50s: It was the first cereal fortified with seven vitamins and iron, according to Mr. Breakfast. And Kellogg's has turned the brand into a full-blown health empire in the decades since, adding diet shakes, protein bars, and special protein versions of the cereal.

Dove Bars

1956: Dove Bars

In the late 1930s, Greek immigrant Leo Stefano opened up a sweet shop selling candies and ice cream on a Chicago corner. It was there that he invented the Dove Bar in 1956, slicing blocks of ice cream and dipping them in chocolate. Still, the treat wouldn't go national until the '80s, when it made a splash at a Washington, D.C., food show. Mars would buy the brand in 1986.

Related: Classic Ice Cream Truck Treats

Burger King Whopper
Miguel Villagran / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images CC

1957: The Whopper

This icon debuted in Miami to help Burger King, then just a few years old, compete with other restaurants that were slinging bigger burgers. It originally sold for 37 cents, or about $3.52 in today's money. It has been a menu staple ever since, spawning spin-offs like the Whopper Jr., the Impossible Whopper, and (for a brief time in 2015) a black-bunned Halloween Whopper that turned customers' poop green.  

Related: The Most Over-the-Top Past Food of the Decade

Rice-a-roni by Quinn Dombrowski (CC BY-SA)

1958: Rice-a-Roni

The "San Francisco treat" got its start when the Golden Grain Macaroni Company decided to try something new: A boxed mix of rice, pasta, and seasoning inspired by an Armenian rice pilaf. It was a hit, and the company added new flavors and styles over the years; today, there are 17 varieties, not including Pasta Roni. Quaker Oats bought Golden Grain in the mid-1980s.

Little Caesars
SweetBabeeJay / istockphoto

1959: Little Caesars Pizza

Little Caesars Pizza Treat opened its doors in Garden City, Michigan in 1959, serving not just pizza, but fish, shrimp, hot dogs and chicken. Only a few years later, franchised restaurants opened their doors, and there were 50 locations within a decade. Of course, the chain re-focused on pizza (or make that "pizza pizza") and continues to focus on keeping prices low with its pickup-only model.  

Related: The Best Value Meal Deals at Chains Across the Country

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls

1960: Little Debbie Cakes

When McKee Foods decided to start selling family packs of their bakery's snack cakes, there was just one problem: They needed a catchy name. The founder's 4-year-old granddaughter, Debbie, proved just the inspiration they needed. The Oatmeal Creme Pie was the first variety to hit the shelves, but within four years, there were 14 kinds of Little Debbie Cakes, including Nutty Buddies and Swiss Cake Rolls. 

LIFE CEREAL 1961 by 1950sUnlimited (CC BY)

1961: Life Cereal

Quaker Oats' first cold cereal, Life, is still as popular as ever, and its inescapable ad from the '70s has gone down in history. "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!" screams Mikey's older brother, pleased that the finicky child approves of the cereal. The spot, one of the longest-running commercials of all time, eventually spurred an urban legend that the actor who played Mikey died after Pop Rocks and soda exploded in his stomach. But nope — little Mikey grew up and became, fittingly enough, an advertising executive.

Related: Urban Legends About Popular Foods Debunked

Pepperidge Farms Goldfish
Pepperidge Farms Goldfish by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

1962: Pepperidge Farm Goldfish

This snack has been "smiling back" since the early '60s, when Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin discovered a similar product in Switzerland, striking a deal to bring them to the U.S. Even more interestingly, the uber-popular cheese flavor wasn't introduced until 1966; the first flavors to hit the shelves were Lightly Salted (Original), Cheese, Barbecue, Pizza and Smoky, according to Campbell's.

Related: Grocery Items That Disappeared During the Pandemic

Chips Ahoy!

1963: Chips Ahoy!

Nabisco's famous chocolate-chip cookie debuted with a very specific promise: Each cookie would contain exactly 16 chocolate chips. But by the '80s, the decade of excess, that wasn't enough for the public's growing sweet tooth, and Nabisco doubled the number of chips to 32, according to Mental Floss. Eventually, Nabisco backed off that number and simply promised at least 1,000 chocolate chips in each 18-ounce bag. 

Related: Walmart's Chocolate Cookies Beat Top Brands in a Taste Test

Gatorade, 1970's
Gatorade, 1970's by Roadsidepictures (CC BY-NC)

1965: Gatorade

Gatorade was actually concocted in a laboratory at the University of Florida, after a football coach complained the heat was too much for his players. Researchers made Gatorade to replenish all of those carbohydrates and electrolytes players were using up and sweating out, and it quickly became a sensation among college football teams, and then the NFL. 

Children drinking Slurpees
Joe Raedle / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

1966: Slurpee

A Dairy Queen owner in Kansas City invented this iconic drink by mistake in the 1950s. Because his soda fountain was on the fritz, he popped some soda bottles into the freezer to cool them quickly. Customers who loved the icy result requested the sodas that had been in the freezer longer, leading him to create a slushy machine using a car's air conditioner. But the drink wouldn't gain national prominence, and its iconic name, until 7-Eleven licensed the machine and christened Slurpee in the mid-'60s.

Related: Fun Facts About 7-Eleven

Big Mac
Bernard Annebicque / Contributor / Sygma / Getty Images CC
Rewind Pringles
Rewind Pringles by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (CC BY-NC)

1968: Pringles

Is the Pringle the perfect potato chip? That's what Procter & Gamble was hoping for. It spent seven long years developing Pringles, a mission driven by customers who were tired of broken, stale chips, according to Food & Wine. The brand actually didn't take off until the 1980s, making food chemist and Pringles creator Fredric Baur so proud that he asked to be cremated and buried in a Pringles can. (His children respected his wishes.)

Wendy's Frosty
Michael Caulfield / Staff / WireImage / Getty Images CC

1969: The Frosty

When the first Wendy's opened in Ohio in 1969, there were just five items on the menu. The Frosty was one of them, along with burgers, chili, fries, and soft drinks, according to Reader's Digest. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas wanted the consistency to be such that diners had to eat it with a spoon, and the recipe reportedly remains unchanged except for including a bit less butterfat.  

Related: The Best Fast-Food Milkshake

Shamrock Shake
Shamrock Shake by Maria J Aleman (CC BY-NC-ND)

1970: Shamrock Shake

Winter's end is a time to cheer for anyone who despises cloudy skies and cold temperatures, but it also brings another treat: The Shamrock Shake. McDonald's disturbingly green drink has been around since the early '70s, when it was actually made with lemon and lime sherbet and no mint flavoring, according to Chowhound. The shake is so beloved that in 2020, McDonald's auctioned a golden Shamrock Shake cup adorned with emeralds and diamonds to celebrate its 50-year anniversary, with the proceeds going to charity.

Related: Fast Food With Cult Followings

Vintage Ad #1,790: Dozens of Meals via Hamburger Helper
Vintage Ad #1,790: Dozens of Meals via Hamburger Helper by Jamie (CC BY-NC)

1971: Hamburger Helper

In the early '70s, families were looking for ways to stretch a pound of ground beef, and the one-pot wonder that was Hamburger Helper proved to be a big success. The Betty Crocker brand was introduced with five flavors, and has grown to more than 50 today. It wouldn't get its cheerful mascot, the helping hand known as "Lefty," until 1977. 

Related: 50 Things that Turned 50 in 2021

Wendy the Snapple Lady at the Limelight in New York City, New York
Steve Eichner / Contributor / WireImage / Getty Images CC

1972: Snapple

This still-popular brand got its name from, of all things, a botched batch of apple juice, according to Mental Floss. When a shipment of carbonated apple juice fermented in the warehouse, caps started popping off the bottles with a distinctive "snap." And with "snap" plus "apple," Snapple was born.

Related: Craziest Marketing Stunts of All Time

Rodney Dangerfield 1982 portrait session - with Miller Lite beer bottle
Mark Weiss / Contributor / WireImage / Getty Images CC

1973: Miller Lite

This enduring low-calorie beer was rolled in test markets in 1973, with Miller carefully studying whether the beer-drinking public would embrace it. As history would show, of course, it did. Helping the effort: Ads featuring famous athletes touting it as "less filling," a tagline that endures to this day.  

Otto Greule Jr / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images CC

1974: Skittles

It was actually the British who got to "taste the rainbow" first. Skittles were made exclusively in the U.K. until 1979, when they cracked the U.S. market as an import. Americans loved the colorful, fruity candies, and production started here in 1982, according to The Daily Meal. 

#245 Subway Italian BMT
#245 Subway Italian BMT by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (CC BY-NC)
Red Baron Frozen Pizza
Red Baron Frozen Pizza by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

1976: Red Baron Pizza

Compared with some competing brands like Totino's, Red Baron was a bit later to the frozen-pizza game. Part of the Schwan's Company, Red Baron still managed to become a best-seller within a few years of its release, and even had a real-life squadron of stunt pilots and planes that performed at air shows around the country. Sadly, at least three of the pilots lost their lives in the late '90s, and Red Baron eventually shut down the squadron within the next decade. 

Related: We Tasted 13 Frozen Pizzas and This is the Best

Slimfast Store Cupboard December 2019
Slimfast Store Cupboard December 2019 by CharmaineZoe's Marvelous Melange (CC BY)
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
Barbara Alper / Contributor / Archive Photos / Getty Images CC

1978: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

This ice cream empire got its humble start when Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield used $12,000 to open their first scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont. According to Thrillist, the Long Island natives had actually been intent on selling bagels, but the equipment was too expensive. So ice cream it was, and the rest is history: Pints of Ben & Jerry's whimsical flavors started appearing in stores by 1983.

Related: Things You Didn't Know About Ben & Jerry's

McDonalds Happy Meal
David Paul Morris / Stringer / Getty Images News / Getty Images CC

1979: Happy Meals

Whether you have fond childhood memories of Happy Meals or think they've made unhealthy fast food far too accessible to youngsters, one thing is for sure: They're as iconic a part of the McDonald's experience as Big Macs, fries, or Egg McMuffins. And while the origin story is murky, with several people claiming to have introduced the idea of the Happy Meal, kids know the real story: We never cared about the food, only the toys.

Scott Olson / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images CC

1980: Sriracha

Sriracha's extreme popularity in recent years might make it seem like this hot sauce was a new entrant to the U.S. market, but it's actually been here for more than 40 years. Huy Fong Foods founder David Tran first sold the stuff in glass bottles from his Chevy van, which he drove all over Los Angeles' Chinatown. The hot sauce got its name from the town of Sri Racha, Thailand, where a sauce that inspired the Huy Fong version is still made. 

Related: We Tried 20 Popular Hot Sauces — and These Are the Best

David Paul Morris/Stringer/Getty Images

1981: The McRib

Love it or hate it, the McRib is officially middle-aged. Interestingly, the sandwich was created as an alternative to another relatively new product, the similarly named chicken nugget. But there just weren't enough chickens for Mickey D's to keep up with demand, so McDonald's got creative and turned to pork, according to Retroist. The heavily processed result was initially tested in Kansas City in 1981, and it slowly made its way into more restaurants over the next few years.

Related: 29 Times Companies Tried to Trick Consumers

Diet Coke
Diet Coke by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

1982: Diet Coke

Coca-Cola already had a successful low-calorie soda brand in Tab when it released Diet Coke in the early '80s. Diet Coke was a runaway hit partially because of its closer association with the Coke name. It also tasted better, partially because of a new (and eventually controversial) sugar substitute called aspartame. Still, Tab soda hung on for quite awhile, and was only recently discontinued in 2020. 

Related: Fun and Little-Known Facts About Coca-Cola

Hot Pockets

1983: Hot Pockets

Hot Pockets were the brainchild of two Iranian immigrants who initially found success making and selling frozen Belgian waffles, according to Saveur. But they saw an opportunity for growth with portable, easy-to-prepare savory snacks, and the Hot Pocket's forerunner, the Tastywich, debuted in 1980. After tweaking the recipe, they reintroduced it as the Hot Pocket a few years later. 

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

1984: Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Compared with some of the other big-name cereals — for instance, Cheerios, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, or Lucky Charms — General Mills' Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a relative newcomer as an '80s baby. And if you wonder what happened to its jolly mascot, Chef Wendell, your guess is as good as ours. In 2009, he was unceremoniously replaced with the Crazy Squares, who have a disturbing habit of licking and eating each other. 

Related: Childhood Cereals We Wish They'd Bring Back

Dairy Queen Blizzard
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
IMG_5772 by istolethetv (CC BY)

1986: Push Pops

Created by the Topps Company, the Push Pop was an unabashed attempt to appeal to kids with a novel concept: A lollipop that can be pushed out of a container when they wanted to enjoy it, then retracted and saved for later if they didn't finish the whole thing. It was genius — and, of course, kids loved the gimmick. They're still produced by Topps today, in flavors from berry to cotton candy to cola.  

Chocolate and peanut butter energy bar close up on white background
Juanmonino / istockphoto

1987: Kudos

A moment of silence for Kudos, please: These candy bars masquerading as granola bars, made by Mars, were a familiar sight on grocery shelves throughout the '80s and '90s. And believe it or not, they didn't disappear entirely until 2017, notes Click Americana. Why Kudos were discontinued, we're still not sure, but maybe there will be a comeback: Mars filed a new trademark registration for Kudos at the end of 2020.  

Related: Foods We Miss From the '70s and '80s

Ralf-Finn Hestoft / Contributor / Corbis Historical / Getty Images CC

1988: Lunchables

Lunchables have endured mostly because they're convenient for parents and fun for kids, but neither of those attributes figured heavily into their origin. Instead, Oscar Meyer invented them to get people to eat more bologna, which was suffering from sinking sales in the '80s, according to The Atlantic. It worked, big time, with a staggering $200 million in sales in the first year. 

Related: Cheap and Easy Lunches Your Kids Can Make For Themselves

Magnum Ice Cream Bars
Magnum Ice Cream Bars by Simon Law (CC BY-SA)

1989: Magnum Ice Cream Bars

Though Magnum Bars have been around since the late '80s, they didn't make their way to the U.S. until 2011. Billed as "the first handheld ice cream bar targeted as a premium adult offering," Unilever's Magnums have tried to set themselves apart from competitors like Dove by using Belgian chocolate. Magnum even set up a storefront where customers could top off their bars with rose petals, goji berries, and espresso sugar, among other fancy toppings. 

Kid Cuisine KC's Constructor Cheeseburger
Kid Cuisine KC's Constructor Cheeseburger by theimpulsivebuy (CC BY-SA)

1990: Kid Cuisine

After the '80s gave us Lean Cuisine and the Lunchable, Kid Cuisine was an obvious next step. Essentially TV dinners meant for kids, Conagra's creations featured food like corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, corn, and Oreos — all of which were to be tossed in the microwave for a few minutes by busy parents (or possibly latchkey kids). If it doesn't sound good, that's because it wasn't, but you can judge for yourself: Kid Cuisine is still around.    

honeycrisp apples
honeycrisp apples by Indabelle (CC BY-NC)

1991: Honeycrisp Apples

The Honeycrisp apple didn't hit produce sections until the '90s, and its commonly accepted origin as a cross between Macoun and Honeygold apples has since been disproven, the USDA notes. Researchers with the University of Minnesota found that the popular apple was actually a cross between a Keepsake apple and an unreleased specimen that descended from the Duchess of Oldenburg and Golden Delicious varieties. 

Related: Things You Didn't Know About Apples

White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino
White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino by Daniel Lee (CC BY-NC-ND)

1992: Frappuccino

One of Starbucks' most famous drinks wasn't invented at Starbucks at all. The owner of a competing chain in Boston wanted a new way to draw customers during the warmer months, and the cool, creamy Frappuccino (named for frappes, New England's answer to the milkshakes) was the answer. Starbucks took notice, buying both the coffee chain and the rights to the Frappuccino in 1994. 

Related: Things You Didn't Know About Starbucks

Crystal Pepsi
Crystal Pepsi by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

1993: Crystal Pepsi

Much to Pepsi's chagrin, Crystal Pepsi remains one of the most notable food-and-drink flops of the past 50 years. Pepsi knew customers were clamoring for healthier, caffeine-free soda, but the food scientists creating Crystal Pepsi weren't even privy to Pepsi's recipe, according to Thrillist. Unsurprisingly, customers weren't sold on the taste, and even worse, the soda spoiled when bottles were exposed to too much sunlight. Pepsi yanked it from shelves after not quite a year. 

Virgin Cola
Evan Agostini / Contributor / Hulton Archive / Getty Images CC

1994: Virgin Cola

Richard Branson's soda was a hit in the U.K. after its 1994 launch, and its subsequent release in the U.S. featured Branson crushing 3 tons of Coca-Cola cans with a massive tank in Times Square. Unfortunately for Branson, Coke didn't take too kindly to the new kid on the block, and the soda giant leveraged its clout with retailers to drive Virgin Cola out of business. "If you are taking on a business far larger than yours, you have to be so much better than them," Branson later acknowledged. "But with two cans of red cola, there wasn't that much difference in the product."

Related: Celebrity Business That Completely Flopped


1995: McFlurry

If you're a McFlurry fan, you have our neighbors to the north to thank. The sweet treat was created by a New Brunswick franchisee, and has become a staple at McDonald's not just in the U.S. or Canada, but around the world. (And if you've ever tried to suck McFlurry with that weird hollow spoon, you're not alone — but sadly, it's hollow only to serve as a mixer-machine attachment.)

Children eating hamburgers, french fries, and chicken nuggets from McDonald's.
mark peterson / Contributor / Corbis Historical / Getty Images CC
Ortbiz Soft Drink
Wikimedia Commons

1997: Orbitz

Undeterred by the failure of Crystal Pepsi and Virgin Cola, Clearly Canadian launched its oh-so-'90s drink, Orbitz, in 1997. The concoction of flat, fruity liquid and disturbing amorphous blobs resembled a lava lamp. Not so shockingly, customers weren't sold on knocking back the disturbing mix, and Orbitz lasted less than a year.  

Potato Chips

1998: Lay's WOW! Chips

Remember olestra? The fat substitute was supposed to let us enjoy our guilty pleasures without the guilt, but it turns out that it gave us tummy troubles and a lot more toilet time. Ick. Lay's WOW! Chips were among the first big product lines to jump on the olestra train, but the name was soon changed to Lay's Light in an effort to distance the chips from the controversial olestra, which they still contained. Eventually, the chips were discontinued.

Tubes of Go-Gurt
Tubes of Go-Gurt by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

1999: Go-Gurt

It's hard to believe, but kids have only been sucking yogurt out of a tube for a couple of decades. And if General Mills' first attempt at portable yogurt had taken off, Go-Gurt wouldn't have been a tube at all, but a cone. However, distribution and material costs led food scientists to ditch the cone for a tube that would be easy enough for kids to tear open with just their fingers, and Go-Gurt remains a lunch-box staple to this day.

Related: How School Lunches Have Changed Over the Years

Smucker's Uncrustable Cut - Day 26 of 100 Project
Smucker's Uncrustable Cut - Day 26 of 100 Project by Austin Kirk (CC BY)

2000: Uncrustables

J.M. Smuckers Co., maker of this kid-friendly riff on peanut butter and jelly, probably figured it had little to lose by patenting the "sealed crustless sandwich," which it began selling in 2000. It didn't take long for a smaller company to challenge the patent, touching off a legal battle that made Smuckers an easy target for mockery. Smuckers lost its patent in 2005, when a federal appeals court decided that the crustless sandwich was "not novel or non-obvious enough." Still, Uncrustables have faced few major competitors, and Smuckers has expanded the line to include non-PB&J offerings like taco bites, chicken bites, and turkey and cheese.

Related: Things You Didn't Know About Peanut Butter and Jelly

Find more fun food-trivia articles from Cheapism right here