When walking along the snack aisle at the supermarket, it’s not often that we stop and take the time to think about the stories behind our favorite brands. However, a little curiosity can go a long way. Soon you’ll discover – not only do all these snacks have intriguing backstories but there is a lot many people don’t know about them in general.
Introduced by General Mills in 1966, Bugles have come a long way since. If you look closely, you’ll notice there are two manufacturers who produce Bugles – General Mills and Tom’s. General Mills used to own Tom’s way back when, but they sold it. All the same, they continue to license the name and formula to Tom’s to this day. The main difference between these two brands is that General Mills’ Bugles are fried in coconut oil while Tom’s are fried in vegetable oil.
While crunchy Cheetos were invented in 1948, puffy Cheetos were first introduced in 1971. Currently, there are over 20 different varieties of Cheetos in production in America. Not to mention, they’re sold in 36 countries. In China, you can find Savory American Cream Cheetos while in Japan there are strawberry-flavored Cheetos. The very first Cheetos mascot was a most. It wasn’t until 1986 that Chester Cheetah came around.
The popular snack was debuted in 1921. It goes without saying that a snack that’s been along so long has had its fair share of controversies and blunders. In fact, this snack has been owned by no less than four companies. At first, it was made by a company named Green & Green. Once the owner passed away in 1930, the company was bought by Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company. They then became Sunshine Biscuit Company, AKA Sunshine Co. The infamous Sunshine label has remained on the Cheez-It box, even after Keebler bought the company in 1996 and after Kellogg’s bought Keebler in 2001.
If you’re wondering which came first, Cheetos or Cheez Doodles, the answer is Cheetos. Cheez Doodles came to be in the 1950s on the East Coast. Created by the Bronx-based King Corp., Cheez Doodles became one of the most popular cheese puffs on the East Coast for years. Just like Cheetos, there are crunchy and puffed versions available. However, Cheez Doodles’ versions did happen to come out a few years after Cheetos’ did.
Made by creating tubes of dough (either pretzel, cracker, or tortilla) and cutting them as they go through an extruder, Combos are then baked and cooled before the filling is inserted. They were actually created by the snack food extension of the brewer Anheuser-Busch and were called Eagle Snacks in the 1970s. This was before they were taken over by Mars in 1996 when Eagle was dissolved.
Doritos were invented in the happiest place on earth – Disneyland. It all happened at a restaurant owned by Frito-Lay named Casa de Fritos. They were released nationwide in 1966. In fact, Doritos was the very first commercial tortilla chip to hit the American market. Originally, the snack was lightly seasoned. In 1968, taco-flavored Doritos were introduced. It wasn’t until 1972 that the most popular flavor was introduced – nacho cheese.
Fritos came to be in 1932. They were invented by 29-year-old Charles Elmer Doolin, who just so happened to be the one who would invent Cheetos 16 years later. Doolin was on a mission to create a corn-based snack that wouldn’t go stale quickly. He ended up buying the recipe from a San Antonio man who came up with a way to extrude corn masa into hot oil. Fritos are now very popular in Mexico. That’s the only place you can get your hands on flavors like chile-lime and chorizo-and-chipotle.
Herman Lay was the one who helped put potato chips on the map in the 1930s. He would drive around in his Ford Model A and deliver chips for the Marrett Food Company. Eventually, he purchased the company in 1938 and renamed it Lay’s. His was the very first snack food company that bought television commercials. It had a celebrity spokesman, Bert Lahr. You probably remember him as The Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion.
Pringles took a long time to invent since they went through a lot of trials and errors in the 1950s and 60s. Procter and Gamble developed the now-famous chip in an attempt to address four common issues with standard potato chips: they break easily, they’re greasy, they go stale, and there is too much air in the bag. Despite the fact that the chips and the can were created in 1958 by a chemist named Fredric Baur, the flavor lacked. It wasn’t until 1965 that it was perfected by the researcher Alexander Liepa. In addition, the machine that cooks Pringles was partially invented by sci-fi and fantasy novelist Gene Wolfe who also happened to be an industrial engineer.
Nabisco introduced Ritz Crackers in 1934 and surprisingly enough, still produce them. They were named “Ritz” since the term meant something fancy thanks to the Swiss-born luxury hotelier Cesar Ritz. The crackers are the main ingredient of one of the most famous Depression-era desserts – mock apple pie. In fact, the recipe can still be found on the back of Ritz Crackers boxes today. Weirdly enough, the pie tastes pretty good.
Rold Gold pretzels were invented way back in 1917. For the next 50 years, they were owned by the family of the company’s founder, L.J. Schumaker. It wasn’t until 1961 that the company was finally sold to Frito-Lay. However, they still decided to keep the original name for authenticity and so their customers would be able to easily recognize it. When is the last time you have some Rold Gold pretzels?
What makes these chips special is, of course, the unique ridges they have on them. There is a reason behind the ridges, other than the fact that they make the chips taste better. They make the chips sturdier, crunchier, and better to scoop up dip with. Ruffles were invented back in 1950 and got their name from a strip of fabric that was used as trimming on clothing that’s gathered and pleated in order to give it a wavy look.
Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels
Founded in 1909 by Harry Warehime in Hanover, Pennsylvania, Snyder’s of Hanover is still based in Hanover and is run by members of the Warehime family! According to the company itself, the recipe for its famous pretzels is the same one they’ve been using since the very beginning of the road. No wonder they’re still so popular! What’s your favorite flavor of Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels?
Tostitos came along somewhat later than a lot of the snacks on this list. Introduced to Frito-Lay in 1980, Tostitos came to be after years of research and development and is one of the company’s most successful original products. The secret? Their authenticity. During the R&D period, it was discovered that after cooking the corn with the lime, Mexican chip-makers don’t rinse off all the lime. As a result, the chip has a low PH and reacts with the frying oil, giving it a unique flavor.
One of the oldest snack foods on the market, Triscuits dates back to 1903. They’ve been made by Nabisco since day one. They’re made by cooking wheat until soft, shredding it all, then forming it into strands. Then, they create webs from those strands and stack them together while crimping the corners to create individual crackers. Then, of course, they’re baked. The formula has changed slightly over the years. In 1942, the rectangular-shaped crackers were changed into squares. In 1935, they were first sprayed with oil and salt, making them crispier and more flavorful.
Reese’s Pieces are now one of the most popular sweet treats around, there’s no doubt about it. Have you ever noticed that your bag of Reese’s Pieces contains mostly orange candies? More than yellow or brown. No, it’s not in your head – it’s intentional. These treats are meant to have 50% orange candies, 25% brown candies, and 25% yellow candies. It’s even more surprising that they’re all peanut-flavored – none of them contain chocolate!
Again, we have Pringles. Only this time, we have some surprising news: Pringles aren’t actually potato chips. There is a reason the box says ‘crisps’ and it’s not because they’re British. Pringles were invented in the U.S. but because they aren’t made with real potatoes, they legally cannot be called potato chips. They’re made with “dehydrated processed potato”. For this reason, the FDA forced the company to change the name in 1975.
Another highly popular snack many Americans know and love, Pop-Tarts started out slightly different than how they are today. When they started coming out back in 1964, Pop-Tarts were originally unglazed! In fact, it wasn’t until 1967 that they began adding their trademark topping on each one. It’s crazy to think about it – what would Pop-Tarts be like today if they had no glazing on them?
It seems many foods were made with different intentions than they have nowadays. SpaghettiOs are another great example of this. When Donald Goerke, the Campbell’s Franco-American brand employee, was challenged to come up with a pasta dish for kids, it needed to be one that could be eaten specifically with a spoon. That’s how the famous SpaghettiOs were born in 1965. Early advertisements described them as “practically unspillable”.
Graham crackers are pretty much a staple in every household nowadays. But it turns out they were invented for a very specific reason back in the 19th century. As a matter of fact, these crackers were invented by a puritanical minister, Sylvester Graham. He believed that the plain, grain-based biscuits would make people more wholesome due to the intended boringness of the crackers. Yes, he made them boring on purpose.