Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Since You've Been Gone: Discontinued, Rebranded, and Changed for the Worse (Part I)

Do you remember that one food you loved? That snack chip that you couldn't get enough of? Do you recall moments of pure bliss, just you and your favorite beverage?

Do you remember the traumatizing day when you were no longer able to buy those crackers? When the well ran dry and you couldn't find that soda on the shelf?

Every once in a while, I remember foods like that, leading me to enter a temporary state of mourning for my dearly departed edible friends. I always move on--yet I always look back on our times together w/the greatest fondness.

This posting is one of many in a series I will write about discontinued, rebranded, and changed-for-the-worse food products. I'll also touch on some restaurant items that fall into one of the above categories. I hope my rants--and raves--make you salivate a little bit in remembrance of these tasty treats...

One of the most-missed discontinued products is Surge, the caffeine-concentrated sludge that others referred to as "soda" or "pop." I referred to it as "gross" or "WTF were they thinking?" so I shall move on to products I actually miss. (Photo courtesy of

Let us start with Alpine White. When almonds and white chocolate marry, their offspring taste like Alpine White. This candy was the only way I, at five-years-old, would eat any sort of nut. The creamy white chocolate combined w/the crunchy bits of almond made for a luscious combination. I remember the white chocolate being very rich, meaning that even half of an Alpine White was sufficient. (Minuscule photo courtesy of Click on picture for a 1980s Alpine White commercial!)

I know I'm not the only one who misses Jell-O Pudding Pops. In online forums, tons of people say one of their most-missed discontinued foods is this hunk of frozen pudding on a stick--and not just because Bill Cosby was an amazing spokesman for these "puddin' pops!" A few years ago, Popsicle started making a subpar variant of the original pudding pop under their own label. The box boasts that the product inside is Jell-O pudding, duping consumers into thinking they're purchasing a product they had long adored. Once you break into the box, however, you'll find something much different from what you remember from the '80s. Instead of the large, paddle-shaped pops you so happily devoured while you wore slap bracelets, you'll find skinny, "normal"-shaped popsicles instead. Sure, the pictures on the box warn you of the new shape, but even that warning isn't enough to save these pudding pops. The new shape is too thin; I remember putting the paddle-shaped pop into my mouth, the edges of my mouth stretching out to accommodate the wide pop. I liked that. The pops still come in the three original flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and swirl. Of the three, chocolate is the best of the revamped pops. As a kid, through, I loved the vanilla and swirl flavors. The updated versions taste too fake for my taste, and the swirl pop isn't very swirly. (Photo courtesy of

A real popsicle-shaped popsicle I enjoyed was the Lifesaver Popsicle. I'm not sure who manufactured them way back when, but the Popsicle company is currently hawking a bastardized version of what used to be a simple popsicle. The original Lifesaver Popsicle was an icy, sweet treat. Each Lifesaver candy had a corresponding popsicle flavor: cherry, orange, lemon, lime, and pineapple. When you bit into a pop, it made a small crunch, the sound of ice crystals breaking between your front teeth. The flavors were sweet, syrupy, and pretty accurate to the flavors of Lifesavers candies. But look what the Popsicle people have done! I mean, take a peek at that box. Five flavors on one stick. Still sugar-free like the original Lifesaver pops, these new ones include some jacked up flavors. Raspberry? Watermelon? What's next, pomegranate? I haven't tried these pops, so I can't comment on their taste. I can, however, say that I miss the old ones. And as an editor, I weep for the Popsicle company: "These Five Flavors of LIFE SAVERS will please your palette with incredible flavor, and are sugar free!" If they could show me how to please a palette, I'd be much obliged. (Photo courtesy of

I've mentioned before my feelings about the discontinuation of Hershey's "Bites" line. Kit Kat Bites were my favorite candy, are my favorite candy, and will forever be my favorite candy. I found the snack-size bags at a 99 Cent Store in Phoenix but have not seen them anywhere else. At 50 cents apiece, however, the snack-size bags are a great find. The chocolate-to-wafer ratio in Kit Kat Bites is ideal, with a thicker layer of chocolate coating the outside of the wafers. This, of course, bumps up the number of calories and grams of fat in each serving, but it also improves upon the original Kit Kat. Eating one little sugary nugget was nearly impossible; if I had no will power and/or mirror, I would eat hundreds of these at a time. (Tiny photo courtesy of

So, what do YOU miss? Do you think they should bring back Crystal Pepsi? Have you lost direction in your life since the discontinuation of Boo Berry? Do you think the "cheese" in Handi-Snacks tastes like crap since it was reformulated? (I do.) I'd love to know what foods you wish you could taste just once more.


Michael said...

potatoes au gratin from stouffers
hersheys cookie and creme bar
doritos 3d

Monica said...


Your blog speaks to my heart...or rather my tummy. I could sing the alpine white commercial from memory and don't get me started on pudding pops and the disaster that was the re-emergence. Here are a few more missed ones.

new york seltzer
cookies n cream twix
the above mentioned vienetta
ben and jerry bovinity divinty
pizza hut priazzo (sp)
jello gelatin pops
i need to quit. i am getting sad and hungry

Anonymous said...

Amazin Friut Gummy Bears...and the cute little marching bears in the commercial!