Snack Foods That Were Destined Not To Last
Although it takes less time to eat many snack foods than it does to finish writing a sentence, our guilty pleasures are often a long term relationship, and we tend to stick with the bargain foods we know we like time and again.
As such, it is no surprise that some of the longest-lasting brands have spent well over 100 years with relatively few changes, and probably equally as unsurprising that some snacks simply did not have the same level of staying power.
Sometimes this was because they were too difficult to make, sometimes they were a bit ahead of their time, and sometimes they were simply awful, but in any event here are some of the most fascinating snack foods that simply were not destined to last.
Pepsi, as one of the Big Two in the soft drink industry, has its fair share of variations that simply couldn’t last. From the suspiciously Coca-Cola-esque Pepsi Raw to the completely cola-less Pepsi Blue, PepsiCo can at least be given points for trying to innovate.
However, probably one of its biggest failures may perhaps be the see-through Crystal Pepsi, which lasted a grand total of two years before being discontinued.
A drink that looked like a lemonade but tasted like a cola, Crystal Pepsi was initially very popular, capturing a full percentage point of a highly saturated US drink market. However, thanks to a dastardly plan by Coke, it was not to be.
The Coca-Cola Company, at the time, had a rather unpopular diet soft drink brand called Tab, and they took full advantage of this to design a clear variant that was designed to not only fail but take Crystal Pepsi and the entire clear craze with it.
Tab Clear worked almost too well, creating an association between the medicinal diet drink and Crystal Pepsi, and causing both of them to disappear within six months.
How well the drink would have done otherwise is unclear, but given that Crystal Pepsi keeps making revivals to this day, it probably would have done better.
The Hula Burger
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, had rather terrific instincts about the desires of his customers, tempered somewhat by the rather bizarre meals he would offer as a result.
A later example of this issue was that McDonald’s market research clearly showed that adults wanted a menu item for them but consistently failed to deliver the right meal with flops such as the McDLT and the Arch Deluxe, although they would eventually get it right with their salads, wraps and the Big Tasty.
The greatest example of this, however, came when Mr Kroc found out that he could make a killing if he could offer a sandwich without meat for Catholics during Lent, who traditionally could not eat meat but could eat fish.
The resulting Hula Burger was a rather infamous disaster. Forget the pineapple on pizza debate, a burger that consisted of a slice of pineapple between two slices of cheese was destined to fail, and fail it did.
Thankfully, his blushes were spared by one of his franchisees, Lou Groen, who created the Filet-O-Fish as a response to lowering sales on Fridays and during Lent, as his restaurant was in a Roman Catholic neighbourhood.
In a straight contest, the Filet-O-Fish won hands-down and has become a surprisingly important part of their menu ever since.
Burger King’s Burger Bundles were essentially a victim of their own success. BK’s take on the popular slider mini-burger was initially released in 1987 and was a massive success, especially among teenagers and pre-teens.
However, the tiny burgers proved to be their own downfall, as they would often fall through the grill grates and caused delays with orders. They would be discontinued within months.
Eventually, the success of the Burger Bundles meant that it would be re-released a few times, such as the Burger Buddies, the Burger Shots and the Angus Mini-Burgers, which tended to get around the logistical problem by having two small burgers stuck together that were pulled apart.
Whilst most of the products here could have possibly succeeded, and were mostly thwarted by circumstances beyond their control, it is perhaps for the best that we live in a world where Gerber Singles did not catch on.
Gerber, a company that made baby food, actually believed that a ready-to-eat single-serving food would have a market amongst students and other single adults as a super easy and dignity-free dinner option.
It didn’t, as the meal quickly built up a very negative reputation as a meal designed for people who had effectively given up on creating even the most basic meals, and Gerber Singles disappeared from the market almost as quickly as it debuted in 1974.