Kraft Candy Mac & Cheese
Kraft

The Most Unnecessary Flavors From Classic Food Brands

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Candy Corn
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We’ll Pass, Thanks

In today's "more is more" world, the basics no longer seem to cut it. From outrageous food stunts like the new abomination that is turkey dinner candy corn (thanks, Brach's) to earnest but questionable attempts at flavor innovation (Sriracha yogurt, anyone?) familiar brands are pushing the envelope enough to tear it. Here are some of the most memorable examples.


Mary Shustack contributed to this story. 


Related: The Craziest Marketing Stunts of All Time

Brach's Turkey Dinner candy corn
eBay

Turkey Dinner Candy Corn

As horrifying as it sounds, Turkey Dinner Candy Corn by Brach's is making a second appearance in 2021 — and it's even adding new flavors. Last year, the candy corn included the already gag-worthy flavor assortment of green beans, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ginger-glazed carrots, and sweet potato pie. This year, Brach's dumps sweet potato pie and carrots, opting for apple pie and coffee. We're not really sure this is an upgrade, given that candy corn is polarizing even in its traditional form. Yep, we'll pass. 


Related: The 14 Worst Halloween Candies for Your Teeth

Mtn Dew Flamin' Hot
PepsiCo, Inc.

Flamin' Hot Mtn Dew

If you've ever felt your Mountain Dew — sorry, that's "Mtn Dew" — needed more Cheetos flavor, then this new, limited edition beverage is just for you. PepsiCo, which owns both Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Mtn Dew, has decided to merge the super-spicy snack with its famously sweet drink for reasons unknown. Starting Aug. 31, brave souls can purchase the beverage exclusively online at the Dew Store.


Related: Every Doritos Flavor We Could Get Our Hands On, Ranked

Mister E Pop-Tart
Kellogg NA Co.

Mister E Pop-Tart

Remember strawberry frosted Pop-Tarts? They seemed so decadent when you were a kid. Now, kids of all ages can turn to this brand for Cinnamon Roll, Frosted Strawberry Milkshake, Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel, and even Froot Loops flavors. Still, 2021 brought the ultimate head-scratcher: Mister E. That’s Pop-Tart’s cute way of stylizing a gimmicky mystery flavor. Stop reading now if you want to be surprised: The flavor is something akin to a sweetened everything bagel. “They taste like somebody dropped the garlic into the birthday cake frosting,” says one of many disappointed reviewers.


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Kraft Candy Mac & Cheese
Kraft
Frank’s RedHot Goldfish
Amazon

Frank’s RedHot Goldfish

Who doesn't love Pepperidge Farm’s original baked snack cracker, the staple of many a childhood? Today's kids can also snack on Pretzel, S’mores, Parmesan, or even “flavor blasted” options such as the unfortunately named Xplosive Pizza. The weirdest of ‘em all, though: An odd 2021 collaboration with Frank’s RedHot that results in spicy crackers that are definitely hot enough to make your average preschooler cry.


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Peeps Pepsi
PepsiCo

Peeps Pepsi

Sure, Diet Coke has raised eyebrows with its fruity forays: Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange, Ginger Lime, and Fiesty Cherry (with only the latter two still in production). But Pepsi truly broke a barrier this year when it rolled out a limited-edition Peeps Pepsi combining the “crisp, refreshing taste of Pepsi-Cola with the pillowy-soft and sweet Peeps Marshmallow flavor consumers love,” according to an overly enthusiastic press release. Judging by this review, we won’t be clamoring for a repeat appearance next spring.


Related: Brand Mashups That Still Have Us Scratching Our Heads

Sabra Dark Chocolate Hummus
Amazon

Sabra Dark Chocolate Hummus

What's wrong with a simple, classic hummus? Well, Sabra seems to think it's boring, so it offers up variants such as Spinach & Artichoke, Salsa Verde, Jalapeño, and even Taco-Inspired. Arguably the biggest crime against hummus, though: Sabra Dark Chocolate, which debuted in 2020 and is described as a “dessert dip and spread.” Treated as such, it might be able to get us on board, but don’t look too hard at the label: It’s still made with chickpeas, of course.


Related: 17 Easy-to-Make Foods to Stop Buying at the Store

Hidden Valley Ranch Blasted Ranch-Dipped Pizza Sauce
Amazon

Hidden Valley Ranch Blasted Ranch-Dipped Pizza Sauce

Hidden Valley long ago joined the flavor craze with ranch variations including Avocado, Cucumber, Bacon, and Coleslaw. But it got tongues (and taste buds) wagging with its 2019 introduction of Ranch-Dipped Pizza, which, as Thrillist notes, “is ranch-dipped-pizza-flavored ranch dressing. It's what would happen if M.C. Escher had his own dressing. The ranch goes back into the ranch like an endless staircase that only leads back to itself.” 


Related: We Tried 24 Fast-Food Sauces and These Are the Best

Pumpkin Spice Spam
Walmart

Pumpkin Spice Spam

Given that Spam itself is a punchline for many, Pumpkin Spice Spam was bound to attract attention when it came out in 2019. “Pumpkin Spice Spam is real and we tried it,” teases Food & Wine. The verdict: a not-entirely-heinous innovation in canned meats that “could easily be slathered in maple syrup, as you might with breakfast sausage.” 


Related: Pumpkin Spice Products You’ll Want to Try — or Skip

Whitewater Wave Hawaiian Punch
Walmart

Whitewater Wave Hawaiian Punch

Hawaiian Punch used to mean one thing: Fruit Juicy Red. Punchy, the mascot, would be surprised to learn that the classic is now joined by Lemonade, Berry Bonkers, Green Berry Rush, Polar Blast, and Mango Monsoon, among others. Still, the weirdest of ’em all has to be Whitewater Wave, which is ostensibly a coconut-pineapple flavor. We say “ostensibly” because we neither confirm or deny — to do that, we’d have to drink white Hawaiian Punch.


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Triscuit Avocado, Cilantro, & Lime
Amazon

Triscuit Avocado, Cilantro, & Lime

Remember when Triscuits were just a wheat cracker with an unusual texture? Today, you can choose from Balsamic Vinegar & Basil, Smoked Gouda, Fire-Roasted Tomato & Olive Oil, Dill Sea Salt & Olive Oil ... and that’s not even all of them. We’re particularly puzzled by Avocado, Cilantro, & Lime. Setting aside how divisive cilantro can be, the flavor combo “is basically guacamole on a Triscuit,” notes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Key word: “on” — you’ll never convince us that Triscuits are anything but a vessel for tastier toppings.


Related: Competing Brands That Are Actually Owned by the Same Company

Popfetti Pop Secret
Walmart

Pop Secret Popfetti

This brand of microwave popcorn mostly gives spins on the same theme. It's almost like an old "Saturday Night Live" skit: You can have Butter, Extra Butter, Double Butter, 94% Fat Free Butter, Light Butter, Homestyle Butter, and Movie Theater Butter. But Pop Secret isn’t above an occasional curveball: The dessertlike Popfetti, unveiled in 2017, tasted like yellow cake and buttercream. Junk Banter even declared it the perfect snack for “Netflix and eating alone on the couch.”


Related: We Tried 9 Brands of Microwave Popcorn and This is the Best

Wasabi Doritos
Walmart

Wasabi Doritos

Doritos is known for celebrating its quirkiness beyond the traditional Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch flavors, and its current lineup includes the fiery Flamas and chile-limon Dinamita variations. Still, those pale in comparison with Wasabi Doritos, which popped up on shelves in 2017 looking disturbingly … well, green. They may still be available in Japan, and we’re happy to cede this one to our friends across the Pacific.  


Related: Every Doritos Flavor We Could Get Our Hands On, Ranked

Bacon Buttermilk Pancake Thomas’ English Muffins
Thomas’

Bacon Buttermilk Pancake Thomas’ English Muffins

Forget plain English muffins when you can have Multigrain, Blueberry, Honey Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin, and even a limited-edition Banana Bread flavor. Still, that’s just barely offbeat compared with Thomas’ zany limited-run Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English muffins, which hit shelves for just six short weeks in 2017. If you missed ’em, it might be for the best. “It tastes almost like someone used something sweet to try to cover the faint taste of slightly rotten meat,” proclaims reviewer Junk Food Betty


Related: The True Origins of 19 Classic “American” Foods

Apple Cheddar Rosemary Quaker Oatmeal
Instacart

Apple Cheddar Rosemary Quaker Oatmeal

We used to have to dress up oatmeal on our own, but those days are long gone now that Quaker has a long list of options from Maple & Brown Sugar to Cinnamon & Spice, and Strawberries & Cream to Raisin, Date & Walnut. When Quaker decided to let customers brainstorm its next big flavor, the result was the dubiously savory Apple Cheddar Rosemary, which hit shelves for a limited-time run in 2017.


Related: 20 Oatmeal Recipes That Will Make You Miss Going to Brunch a Little Less

Swedish Fish Oreos
Nabisco

Swedish Fish Oreos

It’s hard to beat a classic Oreo: sweet, white cream between two chocolate biscuits. When Golden and Double Stuf Oreos came into the picture, those flavors seemed daring, but from there the options went wild, from Hot & Spicy Cinnamon to Birthday Cake to an aborted experiment with Buttered Popcorn (really). But if you ask us, the No. 1 weirdest Oreo flavor to exist was Swedish Fish, which debuted in 2016 and tasted like it was “soaked overnight in Robitussin,” according to Junk Banter


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Sriracha Mango Chobani Yogurt
Instacart

Sriracha Mango Chobani Yogurt

Does anyone eat plain yogurt anymore? Chobani doesn’t appear to think so. Its Chobani Flip line features everything from Coffee Brownie Bliss to S’more S’mores to Chewy Churro. But back in 2015, Sriracha mania was in full swing, and it just couldn’t resist its own twist on the trend: mango-flavored yogurt with “Sriracha-coated rice crisps, mini sesame sticks, and roasted and salted cashew pieces,” according to Time. Also debuting at that time: Chipotle Pineapple.


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Extra Toasty Cheez-It Crackers
Amazon

Extra Toasty Cheez-It Crackers

Be sure to look more closely at Cheez-It's classic red box before you head to the cash register. You may accidentally pick up Pepper Jack, Hot & Spicy, Buffalo Wing, or one of several other varieties while searching for the original. The madness doesn't stop there, though. In 2015, Cheez-It decided that deliberately burning its crackers was enough of an excuse for a new “flavor,” and voila: Extra Toasty Cheez-Its were born


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Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips
Walmart

Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips

By now, Lay’s has debuted so many zany flavors that it’s hard to keep track of them all: Wavy Fried Green Tomato? Biscuits and Gravy? Szechuan Chicken? Check, check, check. But there’s one that still manages to make our blood run cold: Cappuccino, which was part of the original “Do Us a Flavor” lineup back in 2014. “These are fascinating to eat, but aren't actually appetizing,” opines MassLive. “It's like your mouth is watching ‘Breaking Bad.’ The experience can't exactly be defined as ‘enjoyable,’ but you want to know what happens if you continue investing in it.”


Related: 25 Crazy Coffee Products From All Around the World

Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
Mars

Pumpkin Spice M&M's

M&M's come in mini and mega sizes, and the ever-expanding flavor range has expanded beyond basics such as Peanut and Almond to Coffee Nut, Caramel, Crispy, and the elusive Mint. We’ll forgive all of those riffs on the original, but there’s one we just can’t abide: Pumpkin Spice, which launched in 2013 in all of its basic, autumn-loving glory. Spotted on shelves more recently: White Pumpkin Pie M&M's.


Related: Food Trends of the Past Decade That Aren't Going Anywhere

Extra Mint Chocolate Chip Gum
Instacart

Extra Mint Chocolate Chip Gum

We’re not quite sure why this one is so hard to swallow, pun intended. Spearmint and peppermint are old standby flavors of Wrigley’s Extra gum. Of course, there’s also the slightly more exotic Watermelon and Polar Ice flavors. But Mint Chocolate Chip? This “Dessert Delights” flavor hit shelves in 2010, and while it seems to have earned quite a few fans, GrubGrade learned the hard way that the No. 1 ingredient, sorbitol, can wreak havoc on the digestive system in larger quantities.


Related: 18 Things You Didn't Know About Chewing Gum