It’s a sad day when you learn that one of your favourite food products has been discontinued. There will always be attempts made to replicate food items that are no longer being produced, from DIY recipes to other companies marketing a similar product under a different name, but none of them ever quite live up to the original. Prepare for a trip down memory lane as we delve into the top 10 favourite discontinued food items that we miss.
Oreo O’s: Breakfast cereals seem to be the prime target when it comes to discontinuing food items. On this list alone, you’ll find quite a few of them, but there are a ton of others that didn’t quite make the cut. One of the discontinued cereals we miss the very most though is Oreo O’s. This cereal debuted in 1998 and was a hit right from the start. Oreos are traditionally dunked in milk anyways, so this cereal made a lot of sense (honestly, it’s surprising no one thought of it earlier). But in 2007, copyright issues between co-owners, Kraft Foods and Post Cereals, arose. Both companies had stopped co-branding their products, and neither wanted to hand over the rights to the cereal, forcing them to discontinue production. Inexplicably, some loophole allowed for it to continue to be available in South Korea. But don’t despair! The beloved cereal made its return in 2018 and is once again available worldwide. Another fun fact about Oreo O’s is that it made several cameos in the hit sitcom Friends over the course of the show. Next time you’re binging the show on Netflix, lookout for the box on top of Joey and Chandler’s fridge!
Surge: This once-popular soft drink was Coca-Cola’s counterpart to PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew. It’s pretty clear which soda came out on top, since Mountain Dew sales continue to thrive, while you haven’t been able to buy Surge since about 2003. Like Mountain Dew, Surge was marketed as an edgier drink and was the go-to beverage for many a gamer. Due to its high caffeine content, parents were concerned about the effects it would have on their kid’s health, which resulted in the drink being banned from several schools. This wasn’t great advertising for the soda, and in the end, its poor sales were its undoing. The initial hype surrounding Surge began to die down not too long after its 1996 release, and it was ultimately discontinued. Over the years, there have been a couple limited rereleases of Surge, one in 2014 and another in 2015. The soft drink officially resurfaced internationally in 2018, when Burger King began selling it in their Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountains, which allow customers to mix their own custom drinks. Whether it was due to nostalgia, actual love of the beverage or just a caffeine high, its return has been met with much excitement.
Crystal Pepsi: Several attempts have been made to market soft drinks to the more health conscious crowd. There’s a diet version of pretty much every soda out there, and of course, we all know Coke Zero. But once upon a time, there was also Crystal Pepsi. Crystal Pepsi was a clear version of Pepsi, which was supposed to be representative of its purity, and thereby it’s healthiness. This seems like a bit of a stretch, but for a brief period it was quite successful. The drink was only available for only about two years in the early 1990’s, before being removed from the shelves, but it still managed to garner a following of dedicated fans in that short time. There’s an interesting conspiracy surrounding this drink, as, less than a year after its release, Coca-Cola released their own clear soft drink, Tab Clear. This drink was not well received, but the conspiracy would have you believe that this was the goal all along. Allegedly, Coke marketed Tab Clear in a way that gave it a negative connotation and, since Crystal Pepsi was so similar to Tab Clear, it gained a bad reputation by association. Whether or not Coca-Cola actually created a new drink as part of a scheme to bring down one of Pepsi’s newest hits is still a mystery, and one that we may never learn the truth behind.
Rice Krispies Treats Cereal: Both Rice Krispies Treats and Rice Krispies Cereal are beloved worldwide, so it’s only logical that Kellogg’s would make an attempt to combine the two. This union gave us Rice Krispies Treats Cereal, which had its grand unveiling in 1993. Each cluster of cereal contained all the sweet, buttery, marshmallow goodness of a Rice Krispies Treat, along with the satisfying snap, crackle and pop of Rice Krispies Cereal. It was the perfect compromise. It’s cereal, so it’s technically a breakfast food, but you feel like you’re enjoying your dessert. Unfortunately, this cereal disappeared from grocery store shelves a few years ago, leaving its many fans high and dry. What makes Rice Krispies Treats Cereal stand out from the other entries on this list is that Kellogg’s hasn’t yet confirmed that the cereal was discontinued. In fact, they still advertise it on their website. No explanation has ever given as to why Rice Krispies Treats Cereal seems to have vanished from cereal aisles everywhere, but at this point, it’s so hard to find that it might as well have been officially discontinued.
Planter’s PB Crisps: Planter’s is famous for Mr. Peanut, arguably the classiest of the food mascots, with his only rival being the DeMet’s Turtles’ mascot. They wear their top hats equally well; it’s impossible to choose between them. Planter’s is best known for their nut-themed snacks, such as Dry Roasted Peanuts, Mixed Nuts and Chocolate Covered Cashews. But there’s one peanut related product you may have forgotten about, as it was only available from 1992 to 1994. The snack in question is, of course, Planter’s PB Crisps, which were peanut-shaped cookies filled with a peanut butter crème. Despite its short run, the cookies earned the position at the top of many people’s lists of favourite snack foods. If you Google Planter’s PB Crisps, you’ll see that the first hit is a petition to bring them back, which is pretty good evidence to support the case that PB Crisps are sorely missed. And there may be hope because Planter’s has previously brought back other discontinued items, such as their beloved Cheez Balls. Cheez Balls returned to stores after a 12-year hiatus and act as proof that, even though it has been years since it was discontinued, all hope is not yet lost for PB Crisps.
Butterfinger BB’s: The Butterfinger chocolate bar is a peanut-butter filled delight that’s been in circulation since the 1920’s. Just like how Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups find their mini counterparts in Reece’s Pieces, the Butterfinger candy bar had its own miniature version, dubbed Butterfinger BB’s. The marble shaped candies have been compared to Whoppers and Maltesers and made for the perfect snack. Released in the early 1990’s, Butterfinger BB’s only made it to 2006 before being discontinued. It’s a bit of a mystery as to why, since the candy was a favourite among many. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, a series of Butterfingers commercials were aired in which Bart Simpson endorsed Butterfinger and its various iterations, including Butterfinger BB’s. That seems like pretty solid advertising, but it unfortunately wasn’t enough to keep Butterfinger BB’s around. Today, the closest you can get to finding this sweet and salty treat is with Butterfinger Mini Bites, which are easily found in stores, but just don’t quite live up to the standards set by their predecessor.
Hi-C Ecto Cooler: It’s no secret that the Ghostbusters franchise has been a massive money maker over the years. Its popularity was at its peak during the late ’80s and early ’90s, and Hi-C, a brand of juice marketed by Minute Maid, decided to milk the hype for all it was worth. This gave rise to Ecto Cooler, a yellowish-green fruit juice with Ghostbusters themed packaging. The drink was discontinued in 1997, but it still lasted a lot longer than it was intended to. Initially, Ecto Cooler was only supposed to be sold throughout the run of the Ghostbusters movie franchise, which originally wrapped up in 1989. However, it was so well received, that it continued to be sold well past that date. It was finally discontinued when the hype surrounding the franchise ultimately did start to wane, and the juice’s sales began to dip. There was a limited revival of Ecto Cooler in 2016, but whether or not this’ll happen again, no one really knows for sure. Recently the franchise has had a revival of its own and there are more Ghostbusters movies in the making. This means that it’s very possible that the drink may be brought back as a means of advertising, so keep your eyes open for that.
Doritos 3D Regular: Doritos are pretty great already, but in the 1990’s things got taken to a whole other level. The revolutionary Doritos 3D tasted like regular Doritos and were the same iconic triangle shape, but instead of being flat, they were puffed up and had hollow centers. Quite a few flavours were released in this line, including Jalapeño Cheddar, Zesty Ranch and of course, Nacho Cheese. These could be purchased by the bag, or you could opt for the snack sized version, which came in a plastic container similar to that of Pringles. This new packaging was almost as cool as the chips themselves, because the lid of the plastic container doubled as a bowl! Needless to say, these chips were stars of the early 2000’s, but, like many other entries on this list, their reign was short lived. If you missed out on Doritos 3D when they were originally released, don’t worry, because an updated version of them is now available. The chips in the Doritos Jacked line are 40% bigger than classic Doritos and are available in both traditional and 3D forms. The appearance of Doritos Jacked 3D chips is more intricate than that of the original Doritos 3D, but you’ll be comforted to know that they didn’t mess around with perfection when it came to flavour.
French Toast Crunch: Why can’t they just leave our breakfast food alone? Yet another beloved cereal to be pulled from grocery store shelves is French Toast Crunch. This tragic event occurred in 2006 and was met with such overwhelming outcry that the cereal was brought back in 2014, not for a limited release, but as a staple General Mills product that’ll likely be available for many years to come. This success story gives us hope that other discontinued fan-favourites might someday make their return as well. French toast and cereal are two of the most popular breakfast foods out there, so it makes sense that this creation had such resounding success. And if bringing the cereal out of retirement wasn’t enough, they also reverted the individual pieces back to their original style. When the cereal was first released, the pieces were actually shaped like French toast, but an update to the design led to them looking more like pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Needless to say, it was a bit of a disappointment, but now that they’ve switched back, all is forgiven.
Dunkaroos: There isn’t a ’90s kid alive who wouldn’t recognize this iconic snack. It was advertised by a charming kangaroo mascot and had several different flavours of cookie available, each paired with a complementary flavour of icing. It was, without a doubt, the coolest snack on the playground. It’s almost strange to think that children today don’t spend their lunch hours chatting with their friends over a communal container of Dunkaroos. And yet, it’s the sad reality. Dunkaroos were released by Betty Crocker in 1990 and over the next 22 years held the position as every elementary school student’s favourite snack. Unfortunately, production was nixed in 2012. In 2018, a Twitter account seemingly run by Betty Crocker announced that the snack would be making its big return later that year. Many hopes were raised, and the nostalgia was just starting to hit hard when it was revealed that the tweet was fake and there would be no Dunkaroos revival. The company later confirmed that they have no plans to bring Dunkaroos back, but seem pleased that so many people miss it, as it’s a sign that their products are being enjoyed. It’s a nice sentiment, but it does nothing to fill the kangaroo shaped holes in our hearts.